Yesterday news broke that two members of North Dakota’s congressional delegation had signed on to an amicus brief in the lawsuit filed by 27 states (including North Dakota) opposing the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan.
Both Senator John Hoeven and Rep. Kevin Cramer put their names on the document. In total, there were 33 Senators and 171 members of the U.S. House who signed the brief.
It’s a big deal for North Dakota, because the Clean Power Plan would be devastating for the state’s economy. Not just in terms of direct impacts on coal mining and coal-fired power generation, but also in terms of indirect impacts on the cost of power in the state.
North Dakota has some of the cheapest power in the nation. If the CPP becomes the law of the land that power will get a lot more expensive. Public Service Commissioner Randy Christmann has done the math and concluded that the plan would, at the least, add about $50 per month to the cost of living for every North Dakota citizen. The yearly hike in cost of living for a household of four would work out to be $2,400.
So it was interesting to me that North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp, someone who has postured herself as a moderate who is supportive of North Dakota’s oil and coal industries, didn’t sign onto the brief. She claims she, uh, didn’t have enough time.
Which is also a thing my seven year old tells her teacher when she doesn’t get her spelling words done.
U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., said in a statement that she wasn’t given the time to thoroughly review the brief before it was filed, but she fully supports the state’s challenge to the Clean Power Plan.
“There is no question where I stand on the Clean Power Plan – it disproportionately impacts North Dakota, puts our workers in jeopardy, and aims to take away an energy sources that provides affordable, reliable electricity across the country,” she said.
I mean, really lame.
Again, this is hugely important policy for North Dakota. No fewer than 204 of Heitkamp’s colleagues in the Congress found the time to review this brief, including the rest of North Dakota’s congressional delegation. What was Heitkamp doing that she didn’t have time?
Maybe Heitkamp wanted to avoid a potential conflict if she’s nominated for the Supreme Court.
That’s a joke.