Saturday, June 7, 2014

From my Congressman, Jim Bridenstein.

June 2014


The President's War on the Poor

On Monday, the Obama Administration took a major step toward shutting down the US coal industry, a stated goal from his presidential campaign.  The Environmental Protection Agency proposed sweeping new regulations to limit so-called “greenhouse gas” emissions from existing coal-fired power plants.  These regulations would make coal-powered electrical generation in the US uneconomical.  Under this plan, “electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket” as the President promised in his 2008 campaign.

To what gain?  The Wall Street Journal reported, “Based on the EPA's own carbon accounting, shutting down every coal-fired power plant tomorrow and replacing them with zero-carbon sources would reduce the Earth's temperature by about one-twentieth of a degree Fahrenheit in a hundred years.”

The effect of these regulations on the environment is up for debate, but what is not debatable is the severe impact on American prosperity that will come about as a result.  Coal-powered plants currently produce nearly 40% of US electrical energy.  Artificially reducing the energy supply by eliminating coal and retiring coal-powered plants will both increase prices and create shortages.

Energy price increases hit the poor three times as hard as middle income Americans.  The lowest 10% of earners spend three times as much of their incomes on electricity as do middle income earners.  The Administration’s “war on affordable energy” is clearly a war on the poor and a war on jobs.

Distortions in energy costs will disproportionately impact certain industries and disadvantage particular states, a further redistribution of income.  Natural gas prices will rise as electricity generation becomes a larger competitor in that market.  American manufacturers will lose sales in international markets as U.S. cost skyrocket.  Every American business that uses electricity – and that is every American business – will have higher costs, and that means inflation in the prices of everything.

Generating plant closures will diminish the reliability of the electrical grid.  Rolling blackouts and usage restrictions on electrical appliance use will be necessary to ration the lower supply.  The public impact will be huge. You might not notice a small change in average global temperature, but you will notice when you can't turn on the lights.

The proposed new EPA regulations that will so dramatically affect every American, but will potentially only have a miniscule an impact on the environment, will not be put up for a vote.  I have initiated a letter to the EPA Administrator opposing these proposed rules, and I will work in Congress to avert this disaster.

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