Wyoming Liberty Group

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Clean Power Plan Status in Wyoming

We won. The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will not spend any money on the Clean Power Plan (CPP) until the Supreme Court's stay on the CCP is lifted, if ever.

Here, for the terminally curious, is the longer version.

Wyoming has an extremely short budget session, 20 working days. To work within that, the budget bill is done as a "mirror bill", two identical bills when they start. The Senate works on SF 1, the House on HB 1. After third reading in both chambers, the House and Senate then appoint a joint conference committee, and they reconcile the two sets of amendments. The two bodies then vote on the conference committee report, and the result goes to the governor.

Prior to the session and to the Supreme Court's stay, DEQ had asked for $550,000 to work on the CPP. This duly went into the budget.

When the Supreme Court issued its stay, a group of legislators, for various reasons, decided to go after the DEQ appropriation. Senate Amendment SF0001S3035 prohibited DEQ from using any of their appropriation on the CPP. It did not reduce the appropriation. This the Senate approved on a voice vote.

The next hurdle was the conference committee, and, as we asked, the Senate approved the amendment.

The Governor has line item veto authority, which he used. But he did not use it on S3035.

Usually the Governor waits until the legislature ends it session before signing the budget, so that the legislature won't override his line item vetoes. This year, Governor Mead did something unusual: he signed the budget bill, SF 1, and returned it to the legislature with a veto message on March 3rd, the day before the session ended.

Our footnote is now Section 020. DEPT OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY, Footnote 3. The text is:

3. No funds appropriated in this section shall be expended to produce a state plan to implement provisions of the Environmental Protection Agency's Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units, 80 Fed. Reg. 64,662 (October 23, 2015) while the stay issued by the United States Supreme Court in the case of West Virginia, et al. v. EPA, et al., Docket No. 15A773 , remains in force and effect. Nothing in this footnote shall prohibit the expenditure of funds by the department to attend meetings and otherwise be informed as to any potential need to develop and submit a state plan.

We would like to thank Senator Drew Perkins for bringing amendment S3035, and other legislators for supporting it.

So where do we go from here? More on that shortly. For now, we may have a breather until the CPP is finally adjudicated in the federal courts.

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Thursday, 18 January 2018

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