Republican gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson is vowing to join a lawsuit challenging the federal government's proposed rules for power plant emissions. He says the recommended changes, designed to reduce global warming by limiting carbin-dioxide emissions, would disproportionately impact Arkansas compared to other states.
At a press conference Monday at his campaign office in Little Rock, Hutchinson said electricity bills would increase 20 to 40 percent in Arkansas if the proposed standards are enacted.
"As governor, I will cause Arkansas to join the 12 other states in challenging the new, burdensome EPA rules as being a federal overreach, as hurting Arkansas rate-payers, hurting our industrial growth and I will fight for Arkansas in opposing these new EPA rules," Hutchinson said.
The standards are designed to reduced CO2 emissions by 30 percent by 2030.
Hutchinson said he would ask the attorney general to challenge the rules, but left open the possibility of hiring outside counsel if whoever wins the AG's race this fall won't join the lawsuit on behalf of the state.
"We'll consider every democratic option to bring our case before the federal courts and challenge EPA rules and regulations. I've sited a couple of options there. I'm not ruling any options out," Hutchinson said.
Hutchinson is running against Democratic nominee Mike Ross. In response to Hutchinson's announcement, Ross' campaign released a statement saying that he too opposes proposed EPA standards.
It's about time Congressman Hutchinson finally took notice of this issue -- while Congressman Hutchinson was lobbying for special interests in Washington, I spent years fighting against EPA overreach, standing up for working families, working to defeat legislation like Cap-and-Trade in Congress, and bringing the Turk coal power plant to my home district. In fact, just hours before Congressman Hutchinson's press conference, I spoke to the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas and once again pledged to do everything in my power to stop the overreaching EPA. The EPA's recent attempts to go after electric generating facilities disrupts the balance between protecting our state's beautiful natural resources and the energy needs that support our way of life and keep energy costs low for working families in Arkansas.