Hoeven Working to Implement a Comprehensive, States-First Energy Plan for the Nation in the New Congress

Senator Outlines Energy Legislation Goals with New Republican Senate Majority

BISMARCK, N.D. – Speaking today at the Basin Electric Power Cooperative’s annual meeting, Senator John Hoeven said the new Republican majority in the U.S. Senate will work hard to implement a true states-first, all-of-the-above energy plan for the nation with a viable future for coal. As governor of North Dakota, Hoeven led a similar effort called EmPower ND to develop all of the state’s energy resources by creating a business environment that spurs innovation and investment. As a member of the Senate Energy Committee, Hoeven has authored a comprehensive range of legislation to do the same for the nation.

“We have a range of good, strong energy legislation already on deck that can help reduce the burden of regulation, grow the industry and build the right kind of energy plan for the nation’s future – just as we have in North Dakota,” Hoeven said. “We will work to accomplish that by pushing a states-first, all-of-the-above approach to energy development in the Senate, which will create jobs, boost the economy and provide a real future for coal.”

Hoeven cited examples of comprehensive legislation he has introduced to help put the right agenda in place to grow the nation’s energy sector, including coal:

Proposed CO2 Rules for Power Plants: In response to the EPA’s proposed carbon dioxide regulations for existing coal-based power plants, Hoeven and Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) have introduced the bipartisan Electricity Security and Affordability Act. The new EPA rules impose expensive and commercially unworkable requirements on coal-fired power plants. The EPA estimates compliance costs will grow to $7.3 to $8.8 billion annually in 2030. Those costs will be passed on to consumers and businesses, impeding job creation and the economy.

The Hoeven-Manchin bill requires the EPA to provide Congress with the text of any rule that would impact existing power plants, the economic impacts of such a rule and the amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduced by the rule compared to overall global GHG emissions. The bill also prevents any such rule from taking effect until Congress passes legislation setting the effective date for the rule.

As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Hoeven is also working to include language in the Energy and Water appropriations bill that would require the EPA to certify that electricity prices would not go up, nor jobs be eliminated, as a result of implementing new rules on existing power plants. A second tack on the committee would be to defund the agency’s rulemaking activities to prevent their implementation.

“North Dakota coal-fired power plants provide nearly 80 percent of the state’s residential and commercial energy needs and support nearly 17,000 workers, both in the coal industry and in industries that support the coal industry,” Hoeven said. “We need to secure that reliable source of energy and the jobs of the men and women who produce it.”

Waters of the U.S.: Similarly, Hoeven is working to rescind the Waters of the U.S. rule, which expands the EPA’s authority to regulate small wetlands, creeks, stock ponds and ditches under the Clean Water Act. The new rule would heavily burden farms, ranches, small businesses, energy production and commercial development across North Dakota and other Western states. The senator is leading the effort in the Senate Appropriations Committee to include language in the Energy and Water Appropriations bill that will prevent the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers from implementing the new rule in Fiscal Year 2015.

Taking a States-First Approach to Coal Ash: Hoeven is also advancing bipartisan legislation to address the management of coal ash. The senator’s bipartisan Coal Ash Recycling and Oversight Act will ensure that coal ash can continue to be recycled into valuable construction materials, which is good not only for the coal industry, but also for the environment because coal ash gets used to build roads, buildings and other infrastructure. The bill takes a states-first approach, allowing local authorities to take the lead in developing, implementing and enforcing coal-ash permit programs that meet federal standards.

Comprehensive Energy Development for the Nation: The Domestic Energy and Jobs Act (DEJA), another bipartisan piece of legislation introduced by Hoeven, is a wide-ranging package of 12 diverse energy bills that address both traditional and renewable development. The measure would streamline and simplify regulations, boost domestic energy supplies, build American energy infrastructure and safeguard America’s supply of critical minerals. Critically, it requires the Interior Secretary to establish an all-of-the-above energy program for federal lands by reviewing the nation’s energy needs and then establishing goals for federal land energy production to meet those needs from all energy sources, including oil, natural gas, coal and renewables.

DEJA also includes a provision prohibiting the Department of Interior from moving forward on a new stream buffer zone rule that is overly burdensome, doesn’t recognize differences in geography between states and threatens energy development from a variety of sources. A summary of Senator Hoeven’s comprehensive energy legislation can be found here.