President Obama's Nod to Energy in the State of the Union Ignores Devastating Consequences of His Administration's Costly Regulatory Squeeze on Power Plant Workers and Electricity Consumers
WASHINGTON, DC – The latest casualties of President Obama’s costly power sector rules were revealed today with the announcement that another six power plants are shutting down. The plants -located in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Maryland -are closing down because of the high cost, uncertainty, and unachievable timelines of several new rules imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency on the power sector. The jobs of more than 500 workers, and the electricity supply relied upon by consumers throughout the region, are directly affected by these plant shutdowns.
Meantime, President Obama is continuing his promotional tour touting the energy policies that were included in this week’s State of the Union address. Today’s news offers a stark reminder of what he chose not to talk about in his speech to the nation: the effect of his policies on the affordability of energy Americans rely on each day to power their homes and businesses, and the tremendous potential to create jobs and stable energy supplies from projects the president has simply rejected.
“It is disappointing but not surprising to see that regulations by EPA have caused several plants to be closed. These local plants provide jobs and are an economic benefit to the area,” said Ed Whitfield (R-KY), chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy and Power. “This is just the tip of the iceberg. While EPA has not been transparent about exactly how much the Utility MACT will cost, estimates show that it will be the most costly electricity regulation in EPA’s history. Unfortunately, consumers and workers will ultimately suffer the most from EPA’s job destroying agenda.”
“Presidential candidate Barack Obama proudly campaigned on a platform of shutting down coal generated power. Looks like President Obama is making good on his campaign promise, and the consequences of shutting down American-made energy will be devastating to our economy,” said Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA).
“All Americans and businesses, small and large, want clean air and water; however, overreaching EPA regulations that lead to more hardworking Americans losing their jobs is misguided policy,” said Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH). “EPA regulations that undermine American competitiveness, job creation and increase energy costs on consumers require a more thorough review, including a cost-benefit analysis and their potential impacts on American jobs. This is especially important for a state like Ohio where more than 80 percent of our power comes from coal, and more plant closures could negatively impact more families and job creators.”
“Affordable, secure, and reliable energy is essential to economic recovery. Unfortunately, the Obama administration is giving us just the opposite, and today, we see the consequences. More than 500 workers’ jobs are affected, and these communities are losing access to affordable power supplies they depend on,” said Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI).
Energy Rhetoric vs. Reality: Electric Power
In his State of the Union address, President Obama said, “This country needs an all-out, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy” Sounds promising, but in reality, the Obama EPA is hard at work shutting down our number one source of electricity: coal.
Back in January 2008, candidate Obama said, “So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them” It was a reference to cap-and-trade, the failed plan to tax energy use, driving up prices on American consumers and driving away American jobs. After Congress rejected the cap-and-tax plan, the Obama administration’s EPA kicked their regulatory plans into high gear. The plan was alluded to in a White House press conference after the 2010 elections, in which President Obama said, “Cap and trade was just one way of skinning the cat; it was not the only way.” And indeed, the EPA has since been rolling out a series of high-cost rules that are forcing coal plants to shut down or absorb -and pass along to consumers -the multi-billion dollar price tag of complying with these rapidly deployed new rules. Looks like the plan to make coal-powered plants go bankrupt is well underway.
Energy Rhetoric vs. Reality: Oil and Gas
In his State of the Union address, President Obama called for more domestic oil and gas production. Once again, it’s a promising pledge. But actions speak louder than words. During his past three years in the White House, President Obama has done little to promote domestic production and only made it harder to access the valuable energy resources we have here in North America. Just last week the president rejected a permit to build the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry nearly a million barrels of North American oil supplies to U.S. refineries each day and support the creation of tens of thousands of American jobs.
While the president is finally warming up to the idea of increased American energy production in his fourth year of presidency, House Republicans have promoted an “all of the above” energy strategy since day one. Last year, the House passed numerous bills to increase American energy supplies, create jobs, and lower gasoline and electricity prices for American businesses and consumers. Many of these bills were responding to regulations coming out of the Obama administration that prevent us from harnessing our domestic energy potential. As today’s news demonstrates, the Obama administration’s energy policies are not living up to the rhetoric.