As Introduced

130th General Assembly
Regular Session
2013-2014
S. C. R. No. 34


Senator Gentile 

Cosponsors: Senators Schiavoni, Seitz 



A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION
To urge the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to recognize the primacy of states to rely on state utility and environmental regulators in developing guidelines for reductions of carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants and to take other specified actions regarding greenhouse gas emissions.


BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE STATE OF OHIO
(THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES CONCURRING):


       WHEREAS, A reliable and affordable energy supply is vital to the nation's future economic growth, security, and quality of life; and

       WHEREAS, Coal provides affordable and reliable electricity to the citizens of Ohio. However, carbon regulations for existing coal-fueled power plants could threaten the affordability and reliability of Ohio's electricity supplies and risk substantial job losses through premature closure of power plants that have recently invested in pollution controls to meet new mercury regulations adopted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA); and

       WHEREAS, In 2009, the President of the United States made a pledge that by 2020, America would reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to nearly 17% below 2005 levels. On June 25, 2013, the President issued a memorandum to the Administrator of USEPA directing USEPA to do all of the following:

       -- Issue proposed carbon pollution standards, regulations, or guidelines, as appropriate, for modified, reconstructed, and existing power plants by not later than June 1, 2014;

       -- Issue final standards, regulations, or guidelines, as appropriate, for modified, reconstructed, and existing power plants by not later than June 1, 2015; and

       -- Include in the guidelines addressing existing power plants a requirement that states submit implementation plans required under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act and its implementing regulations to USEPA by not later than June 30, 2016; and

       WHEREAS, The President instructed USEPA to work with state agencies to "promote the reliable and affordable provision of electric power through the continued development and deployment of cleaner technologies and by increasing energy efficiency, including through stronger appliance efficiency standards and other measures." The President also instructed USEPA, in its efforts to address carbon dioxide emissions from existing, modified, and reconstructed fossil-fueled plants, to engage directly with states and expressly recognized that states "will play a central role in establishing and implementing carbon standards for existing power plants"; and

       WHEREAS, Section 111(d)(1)(A) of the Clean Air Act requires USEPA to establish a procedure under which each state must submit a plan for establishing standards of performance for existing sources to the Administrator of USEPA. Section 111(d)(1)(B) of that Act requires both of the following:

       -- The plan submitted by a state must provide for the implementation and enforcement of those standards of performance; and

       -- The Administrator of USEPA must permit a state, in applying those standards of performance, "to take into consideration, among other factors, the remaining useful life of the existing source to which each such standard applies"; and

       WHEREAS, States rely on USEPA to establish a procedure under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act that reflects the best system or systems of emission reductions that have been adequately demonstrated at affected facilities; and

       WHEREAS, States have jurisdiction over the reliability and affordability of electricity provided to retail customers. Compliance with expected environmental requirements regulating greenhouse gas emissions will affect ratepayers differently depending on each state's existing generation, energy resources, electricity market, and regulatory decisions; and

       WHEREAS, The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative implemented by nine states is recognized as reducing emissions and provides a net consumer and economic benefit. Ten states have successfully implemented market-based emissions trading systems applicable to the electrical power sectors for the purpose of reducing emissions; and

       WHEREAS, In addition, many states, including Ohio, have done one or more of the following, all of which have already contributed to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions: (1) implemented mandatory or voluntary renewable portfolio or energy standards, (2) implemented energy efficiency or peak load reduction programs, (3) experienced significant retirements of coal-based generating plants, and (4) mandated emission reductions programs; and

       WHEREAS, States have achieved differing levels of greenhouse gas reduction to date, have diverse economies, and face differing economic conditions. In addition, some states have energy intensive manufacturing industries that provide goods to the entire nation; and

       WHEREAS, State utility regulators have jurisdiction over decisions regarding integrated resource planning and resource adequacy, which are processes that ultimately determine the mixes of fuels and resources in state generation portfolios that differ from state to state. It may be in the best interest of rate payers to maintain the operation of certain existing coal-based electricity generating plants that meet environmental performance requirements for priority pollutants for a period of time; and

       WHEREAS, The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) convened at its 125th annual meeting in Orlando, Florida and urged USEPA to recognize the primacy of states to rely on both state utility and environmental regulators in leading the creation of emission performance systems that reflect the policies, energy needs, resource mix, and economic conditions of each state and region in developing any emissions guidelines for regulating carbon emissions from existing power plants; now therefore be it

       RESOLVED, That we, the members of the 130th General Assembly of the State of Ohio, in adopting this resolution, urge USEPA to do all of the following:

       -- Comply with NARUC's request to recognize the primacy of states to rely on state utility and environmental regulators in leading the creation of emission performance systems that reflect the policies, energy needs, resource mix, and economic conditions of each state and region in developing any emissions guidelines for regulating carbon emissions from existing power plants;

       -- Ensure that guidelines are flexible enough to allow states and regions to take into account the composition of existing power generation in each state and region when establishing performance standards;

       -- Issue guidelines under the Clean Air Act that establish greenhouse gas emissions reductions that are feasible to achieve;

       -- Issue guidelines that provide sufficiently flexible compliance pathways or mechanisms that recognize state and regional variations to achieve the most cost-effective emissions reductions for each state; and

       -- Issue guidelines that recognize and credit state emissions reductions achievements and existing programs and do not intrude on state jurisdiction over decisions regarding integrated resource planning and resource adequacy or otherwise mandate specific modifications to the mix of fuels and resources in existing and future state generation portfolios; and be it further

       RESOLVED, That the Clerk of the Senate transmit duly authenticated copies of this resolution to the President of the United States, the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the news media of Ohio.