Shirkey introduces Senate Bill 465 to address EPA rule

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.

Shirkey: EPA carbon rules still too restrictive

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.”