Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., is staking out a middle ground of sorts in a battle about environmental regulations.
Coats and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., introduced legislation Wednesday to delay deadlines for utilities to comply with the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule and the Utility Maximum Achievable Control Technology Rule.
The cross-state regulation places caps on utility power-plant emissions that produce smog in neighboring states. The rule affects utilities in 27 states, including Indiana, and is scheduled to be phased in starting Jan. 1.
The Utility MACT Rule requires utility power plants to drastically cut mercury and other emissions beginning in 2015.
The Fair Compliance Act introduced by Manchin and Coats would extend to Jan. 1, 2017, the compliance deadlines for both rules. They are stressing the bipartisan nature of their approach, noting that Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Ben Nelson, D-Neb., are co-sponsors of the bill.
Coats said Wednesday in a statement that the current deadlines imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency “will result in more job loss and skyrocketing (electricity) rates. While I support a complete overturn of these rules, this bill is a bipartisan commonsense solution that gives states and utilities the time needed to plan and prepare.”
The EPA submitted the mercury emission rule in March and the cross-state emissions rule in July.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has introduced a bill that would overturn the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule. The Senate might debate the measure today, according to The Hill newspaper.
White House advisers said Tuesday they would urge President Obama to veto Paul’s bill, contending it “would cause substantial harm to public health” and undermine efforts to reduce air pollution.
The Obama administration’s Office of Management and Budget said the cross-state emissions regulation would each year “avoid tens of thousands of premature deaths, prevent more than ten thousand heart attacks and hospital visits for respiratory and cardiovascular disease, and alleviate hundreds of thousands of childhood asthma attacks and other respiratory illnesses.”