Voices of reason: Energy-producing states send requests to the White House

Representatives of the Energy-Producing States Coalition gather at Bismarck State College's National Center of Excellence April 16.

Representatives of the Energy-Producing States Coalition gather at Bismarck State College’s National Center of Excellence April 16.

It’s time to chat about states’ rights, proper timing and best practices with carbon regulation.

That’s the message a large group of state environmental officials and electric industry representatives want to send to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Following the Energy-Producing States Summit April 16-17 held at Bismarck (ND) State College’s (BSC) National Energy Center of Excellence, the Energy-Producing States Coalition is addressing the core issues via a letter to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget.

Addressing the triad of topics is the coalition’s next move in an effort to implement rules in the Clean Air Act, mainly Section 111(d), which addresses greenhouse gas standards for existing fossil fuel-fired power plants and petroleum refineries.

North Dakota Public Service Commissioner Brian Kalk speaks during the Energy-Producing States Summit April 16.

North Dakota Public Service Commissioner Brian Kalk speaks during the Energy-Producing States Summit April 16.

EPA released proposed rules for 111(d) June 2, and is scheduled to publish a final rule in June 2015, with states being required to provide a plan to meet the agency’s expectations by June 2016.

North Dakota has a leading role in the coalition, with help from Basin Electric. Dale Niezwaag, Basin Electric senior legislative representative, says the recent summit was very productive.

“I’ve been getting a lot of positive feedback from the states and industry folks that were there,” he says. “They’re eager to see what moves forward.”

The development and implementation of potential rules were closely reviewed by the coalition during the summit. The coalition, which includes environmental officials from 13 states and electric industry representatives from 22 states, has spoken, but are regulatory entities willing to listen?

States want a say

The scene on the first day of the Energy-Producing States Summit was one of vigorous conversation. The Energy-Producing States Coalition came to be largely because energy-producing states have a common interest in having their voices heard by the federal government.

The states’ concern about their influence in carbon discussions became clear immediately as Dave Glatt, North Dakota’s environmental health section chief, approached the podium.

“Basically, there is a concern energy-producing states have that our voice, as singular states, is not being heard,” he said. “We are central to the development and implementation of common sense regulation.”

The tone of Glatt’s presentation expressed the importance of states and the federal government working together to find solutions.

“This is a major undertaking, and for it to succeed at all, we need to have cooperation; equal partnership between the states, the federal government and industry,” he said.

To read the read the full story, check out Voices of reason: Following a recent summit, energy-producing states send requests to the White House in the May-June 2014 issue of Basin Today.

Joe Goffman, EPA's associate assistant administrator and senior counsel, addresses the Energy-Producing States Coalition April 16.

Joe Goffman, EPA’s associate assistant administrator and senior counsel, addresses the Energy-Producing States Coalition April 16.

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