Last week, a Fayetteville resident received a utility bill in the mail for a shocking $91,644. While this was merely a computer error and not the correct amount due, it was a brusque reminder of our ever-increasing energy costs due to government overreach. I regularly hear concerns from constituents about the steady increase in electricity and gas prices. From skyrocketing prices at the pump to soaring utility bills at home, North Carolinians are hurting because the government continues to stand in the way of domestic energy exploration and production.
This Administration and regulatory bodies like the Environmental Protection Agency have continuously prevented the advancement and improvement of American energy and infrastructure, driving energy supplies down and prices up. Their hostile attitude towards American energy is hindering domestic energy exploration, destroying our coal industry, and forcing more Americans into the unemployment line.
Coal is one of America’s most abundant and affordable sources of energy. It remains a critical natural resource and our largest power source, providing nearly 40 percent of our electric generation. The coal industry is a vital piece of our economy and supports and enables nearly 3.4 million jobs across the nation.
In September, the EPA released its first major regulation for power plants since President Obama announced his comprehensive climate action plan in June. The EPA’s new extreme regulation plasters more red tape and unneeded restrictions on our energy producers, pocketing more of American families’ hard-earned money and stifling economic growth. The federal regulation is aimed at limiting pollution limits even further by setting greenhouse gas standards for new electricity plants.
The rule sets sweeping, unachievable emission limits that will fundamentally halt and ban all new coal-fired electricity plants. The new standards would require expensive carbon capture and storage technology that currently is neither commercially demonstrated nor practical. But the buck doesn’t stop there. In addition to these restrictions on new coal-fired electricity plants, the President’s climate plan will unleash more bureaucratic hurdles for existing plants next summer and move him closer toward the promise he made in 2008 of bankrupting coal-fired power plants.
This hostile war on coal is irresponsible and unwarranted. It weakens our coal industry and kills jobs in our manufacturing and transportation industries while severely threatening our economy. While I recognize the need for clean and affordable energy, I understand that we must not force extreme proposals like these that harm American families and businesses and drive up our energy bills. We cannot rely solely on renewable energy to power our nation. We need to secure our energy future through domestic energy supplies like coal and natural gas to reduce costs and remain competitive in the global marketplace. We must not let big government and regulatory bodies set our nation’s energy agenda through environmental policies. This is why I voted in support of H.R. 1582, the Energy Consumers Relief Act. This legislation will ensure more transparency and accountability from the EPA and prevent costly, job-killing regulations that threaten American businesses and families.
North Carolina is on the cusp of unleashing our own natural resources and boosting our economy at home through fracking and offshore drilling. By tapping into our own energy resources, we will bring thousands of jobs to our state and transform our economy. Using our domestic resources in a responsible way and keeping our energy costs low will allow our manufacturers and businesses to grow and bring jobs back home. It will boost our economy, revitalize our factories, and create new jobs and opportunities across the nation. I will continue to support policies that will open up our lands for exploration and development, increase production of domestic oil and natural gas, and prevent big government bureaucrats from regulating every part of our lives.