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Opinion by Senator Rick Brattin: The Federal Implementation Plan threatens to raise rates and give regulating power to Washington DC

Government overreach is something this Administration seems to be quite fond of. Under President Biden’s leadership, federal agency heads feel emboldened to do anything within their power to implement an ultra-progressive agenda that often pits the federal government directly against state governments. There is no better example than EPA Administrator Michael Regan and the EPA’s Federal Implementation Plan (FIP) for their Cross State Air Pollution Rule, also know as the ‘Good Neighbor’ rule.

In an effort to shift our nation’s power generating economy to the extreme end of the climate friendly scale, the agency is seeking to once again move the goal posts for green house gas emissions to force states’ hands in the way they generate electricity. In accordance with EPA rules, states are allowed to file their own State Implementation Plans (SIP) for compliance with the ‘Good Neighbor’ rule. The issue at hand however, is the EPA’s rejection of a large number of those state plans, without opening a dialogue with state officials. Take Texas for example. In 2018 Texas submitted their SIP to the EPA. Fast forward three and a half years and the EPA summarily rejected the plan without voicing any concerns with the submission, and two weeks later on March 11th moved to impose its own FIP. In fact, EPA did this for SIP submissions for 26 states. This is tantamount to a federal agency, empowered by the administration, to take control of regulation of state public utilities – a function that is traditionally and legislatively controlled by the states.

Clean air is not the relevant part of this debate. We can all agree that clean air benefits every one of our constituents and their families, and our own families of course. This issue is about a federal agency illegally infringing upon state sovereignty and the disastrous unintended consequences it will bring to bear. In regard to the clean air part of this debate, many states – including Missouri – have made huge strides in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Since 2002 Missouri has steadily reduced its Nitrogen Oxide (the main offender of ozone depletion and the target of EPA’s FIP) emissions according to the United States Sustainable Development Report. All while our economy has continued to grow. That’s real progress, not talking points drubbed up by lobbyists or third party interests.

But as usual, EPA wants more. According to EPA, Missouri contributes just 1.3 – 2.4% of NOx nationally, but will be forced to reduce emissions by over nearly 13,000 tons, or over 12% of the national total. This is unfair to our utilities and ratepayers, and will prematurely shutter power plants without a thought as to what will happen to displaced workers.

Why? Because it’s a pet project of this administration and their good friends in the climate lobby.

We need to stop this aggressive, heavy handed, illegal rule from being implemented in our state. That’s why I’m calling upon Missouri Attorney General Bailey, Governor Parson, and all public utility commissioners to vocally oppose this Federal Implementation plan, and join other states in filing suit to block this rule. Missouri knows how to regulate our own public utilities. We are always striving to be good stewards of the environment, and to be good neighbors to other states. We don’t need the federal government meddling in our affairs to push a leftist progressive agenda that will leave our utility companies and consumers holding the bill.