As a Member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, my top priorities are getting folks back to work, keeping energy affordable, advancing an all-of-the-above energy strategy and reining in the Environmental Protection Agency. I continue to hear from countless of our neighbors who are concerned with the EPA’s overreach and what it means for their jobs, their paychecks and their electricity bills.
Affordable and reliable electricity is a necessity. It heats and cools our homes, it powers our hospitals so patients can receive life-saving care, it keeps the lights on in our schools so students can learn, and it fuels our businesses to creates jobs and help our economy move forward. Unfortunately, the EPA is threatening to cut the power by restricting access and raising energy costs with its proposed regulations on power plants. That’s why I’m working to protect our community from this harmful EPA regulation and many more like it that could have detrimental economic consequences.
Under the EPA’s proposed 111(d) rule for existing power plants, also known by the administration as the “Clean Power Plan,” the EPA interprets a rarely used provision of the Clean Air Act to allow the agency to plaster more red tape and set mandatory carbon dioxide (CO2) goals for each state’s energy producers that go well beyond reasonable standards for clean air. By proposing this rule, the EPA seeks to fundamentally change how electricity is generated, distributed and consumed across the country. Our state would be required to submit a complex plan in 2016 and must then begin to meet short-term goals in 2020 and a final goal in 2030. If our plan doesn’t satisfy the EPA’s impossible requirements, the EPA would impose a federal plan, which has not yet been established by the administration.
In North Carolina, we’ve already reduced carbon dioxide emissions significantly. This burdensome rule will only serve to increase electricity rates by nearly 14 percent without having a significant impact on global emissions. This is unacceptable. We can keep the environment clean while protecting jobs and ensuring energy is affordable, but we have to be reasonable about it. The EPA is not only threatening the American dream, but our very livelihood. Businesses and manufacturers of all sizes in our district require reliable power to not only keep the lights on but to keep their operations thriving. The EPA’s pending power plant rule will cause electricity prices to skyrocket for families and businesses alike, forcing businesses to trim elsewhere and leaving hardworking folks with less take home pay and fewer jobs.
In February, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy asserted that regulations by the EPA have never cost one job. That is absolutely absurd and demonstrates a myopia that is stunning. Outside of the national debt, the EPA in general and its proposed “Clean Power Plan” specifically represent the greatest threat to the economic prosperity of this nation.
Instead of making it more difficult for hardworking Americans to succeed – whether it’s getting a job, owning a home, or paying bills – we need solutions that will provide economic prosperity and more opportunities. That’s why the House passed the Ratepayer Protection Act to empower states to protect families and businesses from rate increases, reduced reliability and other harmful effects of the EPA’s “Clean Power Plan.” The bill requires judicial review of the final rule before requiring states to comply. In addition, it ensures that no state will be forced to implement a state or federal plan if its governor finds a significant adverse effect on electricity rates or reliability.
Our tepid economic recovery continues to sputter along and folks are struggling to get back on their feet, the last thing we need is more regulations that would have no measurable effect on clean air, but would drive up the cost of energy. With the Obama administration’s proposed rule for power plants and many other EPA regulations, Washington wants to rip the rug right from under us. The Ratepayer Protection Act is just one round of our fight to stop the EPA’s job-killing regulations and provide economic stability.
Richard Hudson represents the eighth congressional district, which includes Scotland County.