Shirkey: EPA carbon rules still too restrictive

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LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, announced Tuesday that he was pleased the state would be developing its own plan regarding air quality in Michigan, but also cautioned that in many cases the best course of action should be for the state to not react to the federal government’s mandates at all.

“I still believe that what the Environmental Protection Agency is attempting to do here is an overreach and an abuse of federal power,” Shirkey said. “They’re simply trying to mandate things they are not authorized to place on us. I believe we need to come up with our own plan — something we would be doing anyway — and in many cases I can see our plan and the federal plan dovetailing.

“But let us be clear: The state has no interest in allowing the federal government to supersede what is best for Michigan, and devising our own plan should in no way be interpreted as condoning an EPA run amuck.”

In August, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it was requiring power plants across the nation to comply with a 32 percent reduction in carbon emissions from 2005 levels by 2030.

Prior to the federal plan’s finalization, Shirkey had introduced Senate Concurrent Resolution 13, which highlighted both the EPA’s lack of authority and the plan’s impact on electric rates in the state. Although the EPA is moving forward, Shirkey said there is a national groundswell against the plan and that nothing is set in stone.

He said the impact of a fully realized federal plan and its increase on residential rates is particularly troubling.

“We need to make sure in crafting our own plan that we remember the 10th Amendment,” Shirkey said. “We don’t want to get too far down the path of trying to meet federal goals that could hurt homeowners and that ultimately courts might find we don’t even need to comply with. We need to make sure as we craft Michigan policy that we don’t allow the federal government to simply insert their will into Michigan programs and statute.”