Jon Tester

05/01/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 05/02/2024 09:35

Tester Presses Biden’s EPA Chief on New Power Plant Rules That Could Shutter Colstrip, Hike Montana Energy Costs

Senator secured commitment from EPA Administrator Regan to meet directly and work on additional flexibilities to the MATS rule

As part of his efforts to bring down energy costs and support good-paying Montana jobs, U.S. Senator Jon Tester today pressed EPA Administrator Michael Regan on the agency's final Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) rule issued last week that could result in the early closure of Montana's Colstrip Power Plant.

At the opening of his remarks, Tester took issue with the fact that the agency's new rule explicitly singles out Colstrip and would cost the Montana-based plant millions despite the fact that the plant has a depreciation date of 2042: "In this rule, you acknowledge that the only power plant this is really affecting is one in Colstrip Montana, okay. That's the only one. You also acknowledged it will take hundreds of millions of dollars to meet the standards - and this is a power plant with a public depreciation date of 2042. You and I both know there's no way they make hundreds of millions of dollars in investment in a power plant that has that depreciation date."

Tester then asked Administrator Regan to clarify what "additional flexibilities" the rule may provide for Colstrip: "In your rule you also provide 'additional flexibilities' and I want to flesh that out a little bit. These are for additional flexibilities to bring sources into compliance. It doesn't go into detail what these are. So my question to you is what - and don't filibuster me - what are these additional flexibilities?"

Tester secured a commitment from Administrator Regan to meet directly and work on additional flexibilities to the MATS rules, and Regan told Tester, "I believe there is a path forward." Tester emphasized that an effective rule must take into account Montanans' concerns, saying: "[The Administration] just needs to understand that a one size fits all rule doesn't necessarily work all the time."

Tester has repeatedly voiced concerns to the Biden Administration and EPA Administrator Regan that burdensome one-size-fits-all regulations will not work for Montana and could raise energy costs while slashing good-paying Montana jobs.

In January, Tester led a letter to the EPA raising initial concerns regarding the agency's impending power plant emissions rules and urged the Administration to work with labor and industry on a final rule that would reduce emissions without raising costs for Montanans.