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Shipley, Van Huss measures deferred

Hank Hayes • Feb 19, 2014 at 9:27 AM

Two Tennessee legislative measures intended to dial back government intervention in energy and manufacturing were deferred Tuesday.

Both were filed by two Northeast Tennessee Republican lawmakers.

One was a resolution urging the Environmental Protection Agency to rely on state regulators to set less stringent emission standards for coal-fired power plants.

Freshman state Rep. James “Micah” Van Huss, R-Jonesborough, sponsored the non-binding resolution, which he said came from a railroad workers’ union.

“I believe at the end of the day these regulatory decisions need to be handled at the state level,” Van Huss said. “The federal government has demonstrated its ability to destroy jobs ... and through red tape, they are single handedly trying to destroy the coal industry that is vital to our region.”

Van Huss’ resolution warns carbon regulations for existing coal-fueled power plants could threaten the “affordability and reliability” of Tennessee’s electricity supplies and put jobs at risk if those plants are prematurely closed.

The resolution also points out President Barack Obama directed the EPA in 2013 to issue carbon emissions regulations for new and existing coal-fired power plants.

“The president expressly recognized that states ‘will play a central role’ in establishing and implementing carbon standards for existing power plants,” the resolution says.

When asked why his resolution was deferred, Van Huss said in a text message: “There is another resolution on the same topic. It gives us time to work them togethe r. ”

The other legislative measure was a bill that would authorize the state’s chief boiler inspector to grant inspection variances.

That bill, sponsored by state Rep. Tony Shipley and deferred by a House Business and Utilities Subcommittee, was written by Domtar, which has a paper mill in downtown Kingsport.

Shipley, R-Kingsport, described the legislation as an “economic support” bill.

The bill’s summary says power boilers must currently be inspected annually, both internally and externally.

“Domtar did not come to a conclusion with (the state department of) labor on the inspection of boilers prior to the committee today,” Shipley said of the bill. “We’ve all agreed to (defer) it, and we think we can come to some kind of conclusion within two weeks.”

For more go to www.capitol.tn.gov? . Van Huss’ resolution is HJR 663. Shipley’s bill is HB 1806.

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