U.S. Senate overturns environmental law, Sask. blamed

The United States Senate has voted to overturn Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules on power plant emissions, and the Sask. Party and its carbon capture boondoggle have been blamed.

“The EPA asserted in the final rule that the Boundary Dam facility has been operating full carbon capture sequestration successfully at a commercial scale since October 2014. Mr. President, that is found to be totally untrue,” Senator Joe Manchin III told the United States Senate on Tuesday during debate on the Senate resolution.

Since new EPA rules on coal power plant emissions were heavily based on claims made by the Sask. Party and SaskPower – claims that were not true – the Senate has voted to scrap the new rules.

“Mr. Wall’s dishonesty has dealt a major blow to our province’s reputation,” said NDP Leader Cam Broten. “It’s not often that Saskatchewan is discussed on the floor of the United States Senate, and I’m embarrassed that it was raised in such a negative light this week. 

“My biggest concerns are the $1.5 billion, and counting, that this government has spent on something that’s not working properly and the lies that have been told to Saskatchewan people that are footing the bill. But, the damage Mr. Wall has done to Saskatchewan’s international reputation and our relationships with other governments and companies is also a concern I take very, very seriously – and I wish Mr. Wall would, too. 

The Sask. Party hid the truth when its $1.5-billion carbon capture experiment didn’t work as planned after its launch in October 2014. Instead of coming clean, Brad Wall and his government promoted the project around the world as “fully operational,” “exceeding expectations,” and “capturing 1 million tonnes of CO2.” Documents obtained by the NDP and released in October and November show Wall’s story didn’t match reality.

On Tuesday, the Senate vote to reverse the regulations passed 52 votes to 46. Many of the senators that Wall has personally met with or lobbied on carbon capture were among those who voted to scrap the EPA rules, including Senator Heidi Heitkamp, Senator Cory Gardner, Senator John McCain, Senator John Inhofe, Senator Mitch McConnell, Senator Joe Donnelly, Senator Shelley Moore Capito, Senator John Hoeven and Manchin. McConnell, Heitkamp, Capito and Manchin sponsored the legislation. Two are Democrats and two are Republicans.