Hoeven Presses EPA Administrator on Transparency and Accountability in Regulatory Process

WASHINGTON – At a Senate committee hearing this week, Senator John Hoeven pressed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy to provide greater transparency and accountability in the EPA’s regulatory process. Hoeven called for the EPA to meet with North Dakota industry to explain the EPA’s carbon dioxide regulations and account for the agency’s greatly increased requirements for North Dakota.

Under the agency’s proposed rule, North Dakota was set to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 11 percent. The reduction level for North Dakota was increased to 45 percent in the final rule, the biggest increase for any state. The change occurred without the agency issuing a new proposed rule, thereby avoiding the required public comment period. Hoeven said the EPA has not been forthcoming in explaining this drastic change, and he pressed Administrator McCarthy to explain the new, more costly rules.

“We expect Administrator McCarthy and her staff to be held to the same standards of transparency and accountability that they require of private businesses in all of their activities, especially when they carry as significant of impacts as the agency’s carbon dioxide regulations,” said Hoeven.

McCarthy appeared before the committee to discuss the recent spill of 3 million gallons of wastewater from Gold King Mine into the Animas River system. Hoeven took the opportunity to press the agency for transparency and accountability not only for the spill, but also the agency’s regulatory process. 

According to Management Information Services, the carbon dioxide rule will raise the price of power and gas for the average American family by more than $1,225 a year by 2030, and reduce the U.S. economy by more than $2.3 trillion over the next two decades. In response, Hoeven has worked as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee to include language in the Fiscal Year 2016 Interior and Environment funding bill to block the EPA from implementing the rule.

Further, Hoeven joined Senator Shelly Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) earlier this year to introduce the bipartisan Affordable Reliable Energy Now Act (ARENA Act). This legislation will ensure reliable and affordable energy, put jobs and our economy first, and curb federal overreach. Specifically, the ARENA Act will:

  • Create safe harbor for states to protect ratepayers: No state shall be required to implement a state or federal plan if the state’s governor determines it would negatively impact economic growth, the reliability of the electricity system, or electricity ratepayers.
  • Extend compliance dates: The bill would extend the rule’s compliance dates pending final judicial review, including the dates for submission of state plans. 
  • Prevent mandates for unproven technology: Requires EPA to set a technology-based standard for new power plants only if it can be achieved for at least 12-months at 6 separate power facilities throughout the country. The bill also prevents EPA from using any demonstration projects – projects that are reliant on federal support – from being used to set the standard.
  • Prevent highway fund sanctions: The bill would prevent EPA from withholding highway funds from any states for noncompliance with the Clean Power Plan.