OPINION: Rep. Fred Upton in the Washington Times: "Securing our Energy Future"

July 24, 2013

Chairman Upton: “The Energy Consumers Relief Act is a step in the right direction to help get our energy future back on course.”

Securing our energy future
By. Rep Fred Upton (R-MI)
July 24, 2013

America is in the midst of an energy renaissance and on the brink of a manufacturing resurgence thanks to new technologies and private sector innovations that have allowed developers to tap into rich resources and unlock a bounty of affordable energy supplies. This energy boom is transforming our economy, helping to revive factories, and creating new jobs and investment opportunities across the country.

Our energy renaissance provides the promise of a 21st century industrial revolution, and it has the potential to be the American success story of our generation. But instead of taking steps to foster this growth and rebirth, the president is proposing to reverse it with new energy-related regulations and top-down government mandates that will destroy jobs and undermine our global competitiveness.

The administration’s recently announced climate action plan would impose expensive or unachievable new greenhouse gas regulations on America’s power plants, thereby raising the cost of energy, which will only serve to drive up families’ energy bills, handicap our manufacturers, and put more Americans in the unemployment line. Although U.S. emissions in virtually every category are already on the decline, these new rules will have little effect on global carbon dioxide emissions. As the administration works to regulate American coal out of existence, China and India are reportedly building hundreds of new coal plants in the coming years to meet their growing demand for energy. This, while American companies are facing an increasingly hostile regulatory environment that will also make it more difficult to export low-sulfur coal.

For American companies to be able to compete in a global marketplace we must find a way to keep energy affordable and reliable. The good news is that America has been blessed with an abundance of energy resources – we are the largest producer of natural gas, we have the world’s largest supply of coal, and we are on track to become the world’s largest oil producer. To achieve our full energy potential, we must embrace this supply abundance and move forward with a plan to safely and responsibly develop our resources. With so much at stake, leadership matters. That’s why it is so troubling that the president is placing our energy future squarely at the mercy of his Environmental Protection Agency.

The president’s announced plans to impose greenhouse gas regulations on new and existing and power plants will only add to the existing regulatory requirements and reams of red tape already dispensed by EPA. Over the past four and a half years, the agency has proposed and finalized a broad array of new rules imposing billions of dollars in compliance costs, ranging from EPA’s Utility MACT rule (estimated by the agency to impose costs on energy producers totaling up to $9.6 billion annually) to the agency’s proposed Tier 3 rule (which EPA estimates will cost $3.4 billion annually once fully implemented and could raise the cost of gasoline by up to 9 cents per gallon). The new power plant rules will result in yet more job losses and higher energy prices for American consumers, businesses, and manufacturers.

EPA is effectively setting our nation’s energy policy through its environmental policies, seeking to regulate where the administration was unable to legislate. Our new era of energy abundance, along with the prospect of new economic growth and job creation made possible by access to reliable and affordable energy, is being threatened by these costly government mandates.

Standing up for jobs and affordable energy, the House is taking action to take back control of our energy future from EPA. The House will soon vote on commonsense legislation, the Energy Consumers Relief Act, which will increase the transparency and oversight of EPA’s most expensive energy-related rules. The legislation, authored by Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and advanced by the Energy and Commerce Committee, requires that before EPA finalizes new energy-related rules estimated to cost more than $1 billion, the agency must report to Congress on certain cost, benefit, energy price, and job impacts. A proposed billion-dollar energy rule would be prohibited if the Department of Energy determines, in consultation with other relevant agencies, that it would cause significant adverse effects to the economy. These sensible checks and balances are necessary to rein in EPA’s overreach and protect consumers and job creators from higher energy prices. It only makes sense that we should fully understand the costs of new regulations and their potential impacts on jobs and the economy before they are implemented.

America is at a critical crossroads. We can either choose higher energy prices and industrial stagnation, or we can embrace our energy abundance and its promise for our nation’s manufacturers and our overall economy. It is clear the president and his administration have chosen the wrong path for America. The Energy Consumers Relief Act is a step in the right direction to help get our energy future back on course.

Read the column online HERE.

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