In 2007, then-Senator Barack Obama famously said that if elected his energy policies would bankrupt any company that decided to build a coal-powered electricity plant. As president, Obama is keeping his word. And thousands of Ohio jobs are at risk as a result.
The Obama Administration's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a slew of new and revised regulations coming down the pike that are collectively known as the 'Train Wreck'. This train wreck of regulations will result in thousands of jobs lost, higher utility rates for Ohio families and small businesses, and the potential loss of the reliability of the electricity system that we take for granted.
As we all know, American Electric Power (AEP) has said that they will be forced to shut down four of the five generators at the Beverly plant if the train wreck goes forward costing hundreds of direct and indirect jobs. The EPA's actions are unacceptable and the regulators need to be stopped.
In the nine months since I was elected to Congress, I have worked hard to reign in the EPA and other regulatory agencies. Just last week, the House of Representatives considered legislation known as the 'TRAIN Act' that would force the EPA to look at the full economic impacts of just two of its new rules before being implemented. Independent studies have shown that these two EPA rules would have a cost of $17.8 billion per year and would lead to the loss of 1.4 million jobs by 2010. The TRAIN Act passed the House of Representatives on an overwhelmingly bipartisan basis, and now is in the hands of the Democrat-controlled Senate.
Next week, the House of Representatives will consider the "EPA Regulatory Relief Act", of which I'm proud to be a co-sponsor. This legislation will force the EPA, at minimum, to give energy producers a more reasonable amount of time to comply with the Obama Administration's new rules - rules that could cost another $14 billion and 200,000 additional jobs. I am confident that this legislation will also pass the House of Representatives with bipartisan support and I'm hopeful that the Senate will follow the House's lead and pass this common sense legislation.
I have also fought the Obama Administration's attempt to dramatically change established policy on coal mining. The Obama Administration is trying to undo an accepted 30-year coal industry practice with regards to mining near streams. By the administration's own calculation, this heavy-handed change could cost tens of thousands of direct and indirect coal jobs, result in coal production being cut by over 50 percent, and lead to a dramatic increase in utility prices. In February, I added a provision to the House-passed spending bill that would stop this rule from going forward, but the provision was blocked by the Democrat-controlled Senate. Additionally, earlier this week I participated in a field hearing that the House Natural Resources Committee held in Charleston, West Virginia to highlight the devastating economic impacts this change would have on coal-producing communities. I have fought and will continue to fight to get this language signed into law.
Rest assured that as long as I am in Congress, I will fight to stop the EPA from carrying out the president's war on coal. Our nation, and especially Ohio, can't afford the destruction of more jobs and higher electric bills that will result from the train wreck if left unchecked.
U.S. House of Representative Bill Johnson represents Ohio in the 6th District.