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Rep. O'Neill, House Republicans Ask Attorney General to Challenge EPA, Obama's Clean Power Plan in Federal Court

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

St. Paul, MINN—On Tuesday, September 29, 2015, Representative Marion O'Neill (R-Maple Lake) and 43 other state representatives from the Minnesota House sent a letter to Attorney General Lori Swanson and Governor Mark Dayton, asking them to add Minnesota to a growing coalition of states challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in a federal court over the Clean Power Plan. Rep. O'Neill is a member of the House Job Growth and Energy Affordability Policy and Finance Committee.

The plan, which mandates Minnesota reduce utility carbon emissions by over 40 percent by 2030, greatly expands the scope of federal authority and will impact the availability of affordable energy for families, businesses and communities across the state. Furthermore, the implementation of this new rule could lead to closures of coal-fired power plants, further increasing energy costs and creating substantial job loss.

"President Obama's overreaching new plan will increase energy costs for everyone in our state, most greatly impacting those who least can afford it," said Rep. O'Neill. "Our state is already a national leader on clean and affordable energy, and the implementation of these new, expensive requirements will unnecessarily punish taxpayers and consumers, take away control from state and local officials, and possibly close coal-fired power plants. I am hopeful Attorney General Swanson and Governor Mark Dayton will stand up for the people of Minnesota and fight back against this burdensome new energy plan in a federal court."

The full letter reads as follows:

Dear Attorney General Swanson,

We write to encourage you to add Minnesota to the growing coalition of states challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in a federal court regarding the Clean Power Plan, issued under the agency's 111(d) rulemaking authority. Not only will this significantly expanded scope of federal power under EPA rulemaking undermine state regulatory authority, but it will also impact the availability of affordable energy for families, businesses and communities statewide. Additionally, there is a possibility that the implementation of the Clean Power Plan could lead to the closure of coal-fired power plants in our state, creating significant job loss and increased energy costs. These price increases will most greatly affect those who can least afford it including people with low or fixed incomes, the elderly, local schools and nursing homes.

As you may be aware, the EPA has assigned to Minnesota a utility sector carbon reduction mandate of over 40 percent by the year 2030, well above the national average of 32 percent. Our state already has spent billions of dollars over the past decade to reduce pollution and increase energy efficiency. The federal government is now punishing Minnesotans for our early action related to clean and affordable power by not recognizing our state's past leadership and innovation.

Furthermore, the EPA conceded there will be no measurable environmental benefit from the Clean Power Plan which calls to question the validity of implementing these expensive, overreaching new federal requirements when there is little expected positive environmental results.

The EPA issued its final rule on August 3, 2015. We now respectfully ask that you take action on behalf of the state of Minnesota and join the growing list of states challenging the EPA's Clean Power Plan. By joining as a plaintiff, Minnesota will be a strong voice for state regulatory authority, protect Minnesota jobs and energy reliability, and hopefully help stop the alarming expansion of federal power over state energy policy.

The letter was signed by representatives:

Marion O'Neill, Dan Fabian, House Speaker Kurt Daudt, Majority Leader Joyce Peppin, Pat Garofalo, Bud Nornes, Sondra Erickson, Tony Cornish, Steve Drazkowski, Tim Sanders, Peggy Scott, Paul Torkelson, Bob Barrett, Mary Franson, Glenn Gruenhagen, Deb Kiel, Joe McDonald, Duane Quam, Joe Schomacker, Chris Swedzinski, Dave Hancock, Steve Green, Jerry Hertaus, Brian Johnson, Ron Kresha, Jim Newberger, Cindy Pugh, Mark Uglem, Anna Wills, Tama Theis, Jeff Backer, Dave Baker, Peggy Bennett, Brian Daniels, Kelly Fenton, Josh Heintzeman, Jon Koznick, Eric Lucero, Dale Lueck, Tim Miller, Roz Peterson, Jason Rarick, Bob Vogel and Abigail Whelan.




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