May 1, 2018 - Last week, U.S. Senator Rand Paul introduced two bills, S. 2760 and S. 2761, to further reduce red tape and burdensome regulations on energy producers by ensuring that power plants are no longer subject to onerous and expensive regulatory processes that discourage efficiencies and improvements. The bills serve as companion legislation to H.R. 3127 and H.R. 3128, which have been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Representative Morgan Griffith (R-VA-9).
“Protecting Kentucky's coal jobs and ensuring that unnecessary regulations aren't standing in the way of the industry's ability to compete has always been a top priority of mine, and these pieces of legislation are a continuation of my pledge to always defend Kentucky’s coal miners, their families, and the industry that keeps the lights on in our Commonwealth,” said Dr. Paul. “By changing the criteria for triggering New Source Review, an expensive and burdensome regulatory process, my bills would ensure that power plants are no longer disincentivized from increasing efficiency and making other improvements and modifications, and help prevent Kentucky's coal jobs from falling victim to overbearing regulations.”
In current law, if modifications are made to a power plant to make the plant more efficient, environmentally friendly, or reliable, those modifications trigger the burdensome and expensive process of New Source Review, disincentivizing energy producers from making such modifications to their power plants. This bill would stop New Source Review from being triggered by modifications to improve a plant’s energy efficiency, pollution control, or reliability.
In current law, New Source Review is triggered if a modification of a power plant increases the amount of emissions, even if the new emissions amount is lower than the emissions rate as the plant was designed, or the emissions rate that was historically reached. Under this bill, New Source Review would instead be triggered only if the modification causes the emissions to be higher than the hourly rate of the source as it was originally designed and also higher than the maximum hourly emissions rate of the source that was actually achieved during the ten-year period preceding such a change. This change would mean that plants would no longer be disincentivized from making modifications so long as they were not increasing emissions above the plant’s original design or above the emissions levels actually historically reached.
Tyler White, President of the Kentucky Coal Association, released the following statement in support:
“The Kentucky Coal Association commends Senator Paul’s actions in introducing S. 2760 and S. 2761, which will reduce red tape and bureaucracy for energy producers looking to improve efficiencies and productivity while achieving better environmental outcomes. House versions of the bills have been introduced by Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-VA).”
Hal Quinn, President and CEO of the National Mining Association, also said:
“These bills are a welcome return to commonsense. As it stands, current permitting processes disincentivize power plants from making changes that improve safety, increase energy efficiency, or reduce emissions. Recent polls show the public endorses efforts to upgrade our aging fleet and bolster the use of advanced technologies. With this action, Senator Paul is doing both.”
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