The St. Louis Regional Chamber of Commerce today hosted a policy roundtable examining Missouri’s energy future, specifically the detrimental impact of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan proposal on the state’s continuing access to affordable and reliable energy.
The discussion occurred the day before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s third and final regional technical conference in St. Louis. FERC, the agency charged with ensuring reliability of the nation’s electric grid, was spurred by Congressional leaders to take a more active role in assessing the impacts of EPA’s proposal.
Joe Reagan, president and CEO of the St. Louis Regional Chamber acknowledged the importance of bringing this group together.
“Ahead of its visit to St. Louis, we wanted to be sure that FERC heard from the business community,” said Reagan.
Former Missouri Public Service Commissioner Terry Jarrett said, “The issue of grid reliability is not within the purview of EPA regulators; rather, it is overseen by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. And while common sense would suggest that EPA regulators should have consulted FERC during the drafting process, two FERC commissioners stated that was not the case. When confronted by the challenges resulting from their decision to prioritize politics over realities, EPA’s response has most often been the bureaucratic equivalent of ‘not our problem.’”
Independent grid operators like the Southwest Power Pool (western Missouri) and the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (eastern Missouri) have also stated that if implemented, EPA’s proposal will have a measurable impact on the reliability of the grid.Further, according to several studies, Missouri consumers and businesses face a 14 percent increase in retail electricity rates under the proposal, with a peak year rate increase of 20 percent.
“EPA is playing politics with our energy supply, the lifeblood of Missouri manufacturers and businesses,” said Ray McCarty, president and CEO of the Associated Industries of Missouri.“Missouri gets more than 80 percent of its electricity from coal, and as a result our state enjoys electricity rates well below the national average. There is no denying that EPA’s current proposal will make our state economy much less competitive. That is something our elected leaders cannot accept. Also, while the EPA has touted the flexibility allowed to states in adopting plans to implement these restrictive regulations, what they have really said is, ‘Do you want to die by lethal injection or firing squad?’ There are no good choices for Missouri consumers.”
“The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission must fight for the workers in Missouri who will suffer the most should EPA’s proposal be finalized as written. We cannot afford another self-inflicted wound and regulatory mandate that will destroy jobs and crush economic opportunity for the middle class,” said State Representative Jake Hummel (D-81), Minority Floor Leader.