April 15 Update on SB 650
The news on this bill is not good. SB 650 was passed with favorable recommendation out of Senate Environment Committee on April 15. The bill then goes to the Senate floor. Sierra Club and Alliance for Affordable Energy made statements in opposition. LEAN was there to support us. Lobbyists from coal, oil, natural gas, railroads, chemical industries and electric utilities were there in favor of this bad bill. La DEQ also made a statement in support and provided an amendment. The committee voted the bill out as ammended with a favorable recomendation.
We made the points that 1) the proposed legislation is unnecessary and confuses the issue of what the regulatory standards will be, 2) the proposed EPA standards will provide adequate flexibility, 3) the new carbon emissions standards to be issued by EPA will not drastically affect consumer utility bills as claimed by industry, and 4) that this bill comes from ALEC, an out of state national organization representing corporate polluters which produces ready made bills for state legislatures across the country. Woody Martin testified for Sierra Club, Casey de Moss Roberts testified for AAE.
The Senate committee displayed the usual in Louisiana lack of urgency for doing anything about climate change and showed their desire to allow Louisiana industries to take maximum advantage of the least stringent standards and longest compliance schedules they can get. The DEQ authored amendment improves things somewhat. It says that the DEQ plan establishing standards ... shall be consistent with this law except when necessary to comply with EPA guidance [paraphrase]. We think this means the Louisiana plan would allow lower standards except for those absolutely required by the Clean Air act. The proposed legislation amounts to an attempt to obscure the real standards and to make political points.
Thanks to all who called Senators on the Environment Committee about this bill. We will continue to oppose SB 650 on the Senate floor and in the House of Representatives. We anticipate that with such overwhelming industry support and support of the governor’s office that our chances of stopping this bill are small. But our opposition provides us the chance to get out the message about the critical necessity to do something about climate change. In the long run it will be the federal rules that take precedence. But this bill puts Louisiana State Government squarely on the fossil fuel industry team against USEPA attempts to regulate carbon emissions in Louisiana.
See the proposed legislation for yourself at: https://www.legis.la.gov/legis/ViewDocument.aspx?d=893832&n=SB650%20Engr...