Column: Power the nation with American-made energy

Column by Rep. Lynn Westmoreland
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When his cap-and-trade plan failed to get enough support in the Democrat-controlled 111th Congress, President Obama turned to his favorite agency, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Through them, he has essentially enacted the cap-and-trade law through EPA regulations. While we can see the impact of these regulations in industries across the country like the agriculture industry and the automotive industry, the largest impact has been on our energy sector.
During the last three years, the EPA has issued some of the most costly regulations on power plants in their history. By 2016, the Utility MACT regulation is expected to cost $9.6 billion annually in direct costs, and some analysts estimate its total indirect costs closer to $100 billion. The Cross State Air Pollution Rule is expected to cost $1.4 billion in 2012. And, according to the president’s own Commerce Department, the Boiler MACT regulations are expected to affect more than 200,000 boilers and will cost between 40,000 and 60,000 jobs. Remember, when the president was running for office in 2008 he promised that his energy policies would mean “electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” Guess he wasn’t kidding.
The impact of these regulations is already being felt. Last month, two utility companies announced the closing of 10 of their power plants as a direct result of some of the strict new regulations – a move many experts agree will raise the price of electricity for consumers.
Yet it seemed as though the president had finally come around when, during his State of the Union speech earlier this year, he said, “This country needs an all-out, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy.” It’s not often that the president and I agree on something, but in this case even I had to cheer.
Unfortunately, the president hasn’t stayed true to his words. In fact, just last month, the EPA announced yet another set of regulations aimed at power plants. The New Source Performance Standard, as it is known, would limit carbon dioxide emissions by newly built power plants to no more than 1,000 pounds per megawatt of electricity produced. The average coal plant emits 1,768 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt. So, essentially, this new regulation will effectively ban the building of any new coal-fired power plant.

Whether the president and environmentalists like it or not, coal currently accounts for almost half of the electricity generated in this country. Putting limits on coal-fired power plants will only increase electricity costs on American families and businesses still struggling to keep their heads above water in our sluggish economy.

We can no longer allow the White House to say one thing and do another when it comes to energy. If the president truly supports the Republican all-of-the-above energy strategy – as he claimed he did – then he needs to follow through. It’s time we start to take advantage of all of the God-given natural resources this country has by allowing American-made energy to power this nation.



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