Shirkey introduces Senate Bill 465 to address EPA rule

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LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, announced Wednesday that he has introduced legislation that would allow the Legislature to review any state carbon plan before it is submitted to the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Senate Bill 465 also would require the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to first provide the Legislature with a report on the impact of complying with the new federal rules, and to look fully at plan costs, benefits and impacts on resident’s electric rates.

“Much of what the EPA is trying to force with its new rules is a clear overreach, but it’s a prudent step for the state to continue devising its plan to further address air quality in a manner that will not cripple our economy or unnecessarily raise our electric bills,” Shirkey said.

“The Supreme Court has indicated that we need to look at both the benefits and costs to achieve good policy and balance, and the report this legislation calls for will ensure our final state plan looks at both sides of that cost-benefit ledger.”

Shirkey said that many of the steps the state has already taken will result in improved air quality and that historically Michigan has been out in front of the issue compared to other states.

“Technology is changing the way we manage our energy, and people are taking initiative on their own to participate in residential solar net-metering, the utilities are expanding their use of time-of-day pricing and load management, and expanded opportunities in cogeneration allow us to be more efficient than we’ve been in the past,” Shirkey said.

“We are well on our way to meeting some of these targets, but we still need time to negotiate with the federal government to ensure we get credit where credit is due and also make sure the costs of compliance aren’t counterproductive to our overall efforts.”

In August, the 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. Several lawsuits have been initiated to determine if the EPA is exceeding its authority in creating such a mandate.

“We will work with the federal government, but on our own terms,” Shirkey said. “We can’t afford to have our successful air quality laws get hijacked into narrowly focusing on overreaching federal carbon rules.”

SB 465 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Natural Resources.