Thursday, June 23, 2011

GUEST COLUMN: "EPA: Keeping "Cap and Trade" Agenda Alive" by Rep. Bob Gibbs

Rep. Bob Gibbs (R, OH-18)
By Congressman Bob Gibbs (R,OH-18)
Coal and the Ohioans who depend on it are under attack.  Despite failing to pass a massive “cap and trade” national energy tax last Congress, this Administration has continued to pursue a radical, anti-business agenda to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

In the last 30 years, total air pollution has decreased by 57% while the U.S. population grew by 35% and energy consumption grew by 22%.  According to the U.S. EPA, “emissions…have been reduced substantially since 1980,” showing “great progress in air quality improvement.”  However, the EPA has proposed two national emission standards that would be among the most expensive regulations ever imposed on coal-fueled power plants without meaningfully improving air quality.

Thanks to these arbitrary and unreasonable standards, power providers would incur $17.8 billion per year in compliance costs alone.  15% of the nation’s coal plants will become uneconomic and be forced to shut-down prematurely by 2016, not because they are unsafe or faulty, but because bureaucrats in Washington are moving rapidly to drive up the price of coal to ultimately eradicate its use.
Here in Ohio, not only does coal supply 84% of our power, but we rely on the jobs created by the coal industry.  However, it is projected that these backdoor cap and trade rules will eliminate 1.44 million jobs by 2020, including almost 54,000 jobs in Ohio.  The effects to the communities will be far greater than these direct job losses alone as 11 Ohio jobs stem from every one coal job.

The extreme cost of these anti-coal mandates would also dramatically increase our electricity rates by 13% in Ohio and natural gas prices by 17% nationally.  Small businesses and manufacturers will pay significantly higher energy bills as a result, and unfortunately those costs are passed along to consumers – that means you and me.

In addition to the fact that household gas and electricity rates would increase, these rules would increase our dependence on foreign oil and reduce the ability for American manufacturers to compete.  Not to mention that reduced energy capacity will increase the occurrence of rolling blackouts and electrical shortages throughout the country.

As the U.S. economy struggles to get back on track, now is not the time to allow the EPA to impose what could prove to be the most costly, burdensome, and expansive set of job-destroying regulations ever crafted.  For the sake of Ohio jobs, families, and small businesses, I will continue to rein in the EPA’s runaway regulations to save countless jobs and protect our economy from the tens of billions of dollars their backdoor cap-and-trade energy taxes would cost.