McConnell, Portman float ‘just say no’ amendment to budget 

Source: Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced an amendment today to the fiscal 2016 budget resolution that would allow states to opt out of U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan.

The McConnell-Portman language would allow either the governor or the state legislature to make this determination if they judged the rule would increase electricity costs in a way that would hurt low-income ratepayers, affect reliability, impair investments in existing generating units, harm manufacturing and “other important sectors of the economy of the state,” or hurt the state in numerous other ways.

McConnell has repeatedly proposed that state lawmakers refuse to comply with the EPA rule, saying that the agency has little ability to impose a federal plan that would be more onerous than the state plans it would approve. And state plans will become federally enforceable, he warns, giving EPA and third parties new grounds to sue for their enforcement.

“This commonsense amendment returns power to the states by ensuring they can make their own decisions when determining if a federal regulation will negatively impact their electricity prices and economy,” Portman said in a statement introducing the amendment.