Nothing kills a job faster than a Washington regulation. When I ask farm families, small business owners and municipal leaders which federal agency poses the greatest threat to rural Missouri, they always give the same answer, the EPA. President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency seems to be focused on killing jobs and hurting our district’s rural economy. The House of Representatives is taking action to prevent the EPA from imposing new regulations with two common sense pieces of legislation.
The Energy Consumers Relief Act will give families protection from new energy-related regulations. Over the last four and a half years the EPA has proposed and finalized numerous rules that will cost $1 billion in compliance costs. The rules not only cost billions in compliance, they also force manufactures to either not hire new workers or, even worse, let existing workers go. The Energy Consumers Relief Act will require a review by Congress and the Secretary of Energy before the EPA could finalize any rules that would have a significant adverse economic effect.
Recently, leaders at the EPA have proposed new rules for power plants that could dramatically increase energy costs for Missouri families. The EPA is attempting to label coal ash, a byproduct of coal-fired powers plants, as a “special waste.” The new label would impose handling and disposal restraints on coal plant operators. Over 80% of Missouri’s power is generated by coal, and the new coal ash regulations would have a huge financial and operational impact on these plants. It would cost up to $42 million in capital improvements to meet the EPA’s new standards and would substantially raise utility bills for families in our state who are already struggling.
To counter the EPA’s regulations the House of Representatives passed the Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act of 2013. The legislation transfers the federal EPA coal ash monitoring program to a more workable state-based program. This common sense, bipartisan bill would ensure a healthy environment and would also keep our rural communities powered.
New energy regulations from the EPA further underscore the need for a national energy policy. We need to start using our vast domestic energy sources to develop an “all of the above” energy policy. The American West is rich with oil shale reserves that can be used to power homes and businesses. Off-shore oil reserves provide an abundant domestic energy source and our nation has more coal reserves than Saudi Arabia has oil. The Keystone XL Pipeline can create thousands of jobs and generate a new source of oil right here in North America. We need a national energy policy that will unleash our tremendous natural resources instead of continuing to rely on countries outside America for our energy needs. I will continue fighting the Obama EPA that seems intent on hurting our rural economy and pushing for a real national energy policy.