Since 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published nearly 4,000 rules — totaling over 33,000 pages — that threaten affordable energy and jobs in the coal, natural gas and many other sectors of our economy. Many of these have been vast oversteps of federal authority like in the agency’s “Clean Power Plan,” but on top of that, they have expanded over 100 greenhouse gas related pre-existing statutes for their own agenda.
The EPA was established more than 40 years ago by executive order to enact several hundred new rules yearly. The wave of rules under this administration are only adding to the burden, and have been deemed “economically significant” — having an annual effect on the economy surpassing $100 million or more and/or fundamentally impacting the economy.
In Missouri and across America, the EPA’s new overbearing standards have hurt coal-fired and natural gas-fired electric generating units, oftentimes issuing new rules just as the most recent edicts had been complied with. From oversight at the state level to businesses and their employees, these initiatives have vastly changed the landscape of America’s vital energy industries in a way that demands us to comprehensively look at the legal and implementation costs of such brazen policies.
In early July, the House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Power held a hearing to do just that where we heard daunting testimony. Travis Kavulla, President of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners and Vice Chairman of the Montana Public service commission, testified that, “The EPA’s regulation creates a carbon planning function vested in the EPA together with the State environmental regulators and governors. This supplants the traditional oversight of utility resource planning by State and utility commissions. This step change in the regulation of utilities will have many consequences, some of which are readily apparent and some of which are as yet unforeseen.”
Texas Railroad Commission Chairman David J. Porter echoed his sentiment, saying that the Obama administration’s rulemaking has been to “the detriment of state authority and the circumvention of the regulatory authority granted to Congress.” Furthermore, Director of the North Dakota Industrial Commission testified that new regulatory initiatives “interfere directly with North Dakota’s plan for reducing its gas flaring by limiting the power that [North Dakota Officials] have available for powering those natural gas processing plants,” which requires “three to four times as much pipeline in the ground to reach these smaller pads.”
We cannot take our energy sustainability so lightly and, like I tell people in the Ozarks, these are the stakes in November. It has become clear that it will be up to Congress to make the EPA stay within its constitutionally given authority so that our energy industries do not suffer further. These rules apply broadly across the U.S. economy and will continue to hurt productivity as long as the EPA exceeds its authority and acts as a central energy regulator.
Here in Missouri, we rely on coal for 83 percent of our generating power, and this shift could dramatically undermine our electric grid and raise consumer prices. The testimony we heard from experts and officials in our hearing speaks volumes and, as always, I am committed to fighting on behalf of the ratepayers, energy producers and workers who have been, and will continue to be, impacted by these reckless rules unless they are stopped.
For more information on my activities in our district and in Washington I encourage you to follow my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Rep.Billy.Long and my Twitter page at https://twitter.com/USRepLong . You can also subscribe to my weekly newsletter, “Long’s Short Report”, by visiting https://longforms.house.gov/newsletter-and-email-updates-form.
Billy Long, the congressional representative from Missouri’s 7th District, contributes a regular opinion piece.
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- On August 3, 2016