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Associated Industries of Missouri Board Trip to D.C. – UPDATE

We told you last week it was our opinion there is no shortage of bad ideas coming from Washington, D.C., particularly from the un-elected bureaucrats in powerful government agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Labor Relations Board.  We visited with all of our Congressional delegation last week, telling them Congress must take action to rein in these bureaucrats and protect Americans from the consequences of these onerous regulations.

We also were very clear in Associated Industries of Missouri’s support for S. J. Res. 37.  That Congressional Review Act measure would send the EPA back to the drawing board on its flawed Utility MACT regulation – a regulation that the EPA admits will result in electricity rate increases of 2.8% to 6.3% in Missouri.  Because the EPA was the one doing the study, most of us believe the cost will be much higher.  Click here for the EPA’s study (pay particular attention to pages 3-22 to 3-25).

The fact of the matter is that the technology does not exist that would allow utility companies to meet the EPA standards in the regulation.  So not only will the regulation be expensive, it is unattainable in the short time given for compliance.  But even if utility companies are given longer to comply, there is no guarantee that technology will catch up to the timelines in the regulation.

The vote will likely be taken next week – our lobbyists tell us the vote could occur June 20.  Senator McCaskill’s senior legislative assistant, Clark Porter, was very gracious to meet with us last week, but was equally non-committal on Senator McCaskill’s position regarding S.J. Res 37.  Now, we learn there is another measure that would simply delay the bad regulation for six years.  Why come up with an alternative proposal?  Perhaps to provide political cover for Senators, like McCaskill, whose constituents will face higher utility bills if the EPA succeeds with implementing the regulation.  A bill to postpone implementation of the regulation allows Senators to say they have taken action to stop the Obama Administration’s effort to increase utility bills, while still allowing President Obama’s environmental policies as reflected in the EPA’s regulation to eventually take effect.  The legislation postponing the assault on our nation’s use of coal does NOTHING to prevent the inevitable utility cost increases that all Missouri businesses and residents will pay if S.J. Res. 37 is not passed.

You see, the EPA answers to the President and he could, if he chose, simply direct the EPA to withdraw the regulation. But he has not chosen to do so, and it appears the key vote next week will determine whether Senator McCaskill will continue to support President Obama’s flawed energy policy or stand up for her constituents, support S.J. Res. 37, and stop the EPA’s utility bill increase.  We urge you to call Senator McCaskill’s office at (202) 224-6154 and let her know you support the effort to REPEAL the EPA’s Utility MACT regulation and that legislation simply delaying the measure is not acceptable.

Click here for the text of a speech by Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) regarding the political games being played with the EPA’s Utility MACT regulation.  Senator Inhofe is the sponsor of S.J. Res 37 that would void the EPA’s regulation.

We also discussed with our Congressional delegation several other items of importance to Missouri businesses, including:

  1. Opposition to ambush elections;

  2. Support for trade fairness, including the protection of American intellectual property and information technology in international trade;

  3. Support for a long-term transportation spending authorization bill;

  4. Support for elimination of death (estate) taxes;

  5. Congressional action necessary to prevent an automatic tax increase that will result if tax cuts are allowed to expire December 31;

  6. Support for a permanent research and development (R&D) Tax Credit; and,

  7. Support for bonds for water infrastructure projects.

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