Alexander Votes to Support Tennessee Outdoors, Put Limits on EPA Overregulation

Says legislation funds Tennessee’s national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, and fish hatcheries

Posted on June 18, 2015

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“I also voted for this legislation because it puts limits on the EPA’s efforts to add to the big, wet blanket of burdensome regulations that mean higher costs for Tennessee families, farmers and businesses.” – Lamar Alexander 

WASHINGTON, June 18, 2015 – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today voted in the Senate Appropriations Committee in favor of the fiscal year 2016 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, saying it supports Tennessee priorities and “puts limits on the EPA’s efforts to add to the big, wet blanket of burdensome regulations.”

“Governing is about setting priorities, and I voted for this legislation because it supports Tennessee’s great outdoors and restrains the Environmental Protection Agency’s overregulation,” Alexander said. “This legislation includes funding that for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Cherokee National Forest, the Dale Hollow and Erwin National Fish Hatcheries, as well as conservation programs that support projects across the state.”  

Alexander continued, “I also voted for this legislation because it pushes back against the EPA’s efforts to add to the big, wet blanket of burdensome regulations that mean higher costs for Tennessee families, farmers and businesses. This legislation limits the administration’s costly and unfair proposed Clean Power Plan to regulate carbon emissions, prevents the EPA from regulating mud puddles in farmers’ fields, and proposes to give communities more time to meet the ozone standard that is already in place before EPA lowers the ozone standard again.”

Alexander said the legislation includes funding for Tennessee priorities including:

  • Funding for Tennessee’s 12 national parks, including the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, seven national wildlife refuges, and the Cherokee National Forest. The bill also includes funding for the new Manhattan Project National Historical Park.
  • $53.4 million for the operation of the National Fish Hatchery System, which includes Tennessee’s national fish hatcheries in Erwin, Tenn. and Celina, Tenn.
  • $3.345 million for the Sherwood Forest project in Franklin County. The project is the Tennessee Division of Forestry’s highest priority Forest Legacy Program project and will link the Bear Hollow Mountain and Walls of Jericho tracts.
  • An extension of the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area’s authorization through 2021.

Alexander said the legislation restrains the EPA’s overregulation in crucial ways:

  • Clean Power Plan: The legislation includes a provision regarding the Obama administration’s proposed Clean Power Plan that prohibits the EPA from imposing a federal implementation plan on states it has decided have not yet submitted a satisfactory implementation plan of their own.

Under the proposed Clean Power Plan, only 6 percent of the energy generated by existing nuclear plants would count toward setting EPA’s carbon reduction goals. Wind and solar, meanwhile, would receive 100 percent credit from the EPA. The EPA also assumes that nuclear plants that are under construction, including Watts Bar 2 in Tennessee, as already operating at 90 percent capacity, even though they are not yet open and will not begin producing electricity until the end of 2015 at the earliest.  

Alexander said, “60 percent of our country’s carbon-free, emission-free electricity comes from nuclear power. Yet, when we’re developing a clean air plan in Tennessee under the Obama administration’s proposed Clean Power Plan, we don’t get credit for investing in nuclear power.”        

  • Ozone Standards: The legislation restricts the EPA’s ability to further lower ozone standards until 85 percent of counties in nonattainment as of Jan. 30, 2015 have been able to comply with the current ozone standards. Alexander said, “The air is demonstrably cleaner in Tennessee, and we need to give the regulations we have already put in place time to work before we interrupt efforts to improve air quality. If counties in Tennessee want to encourage job growth, they’ve got to have clean air so companies can easily get permits to build new plants.”
  • Waters of the United States: The legislation prohibits the EPA from implementing the Waters of the United States rule that redefines what qualifies as a “navigable” waterway subject to the Clean Water Act. Alexander said, “The Obama administration’s penchant for burdensome regulations has gone so far the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are even trying to regulate farmers’ mud puddles.”

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