Friday, June 27, 2014

Billy Long: Obama, EPA are out of touch with American people

In a portion of his latest newsletter, Seventh District Congressman Billy Long criticized President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency. 

Once again, the president and his Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have shown that they are out of touch with the American people. On June 2, the EPA announced a plan to reduce carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030. This is simply an attempt by the president to go around Congress to advance his job-destroying energy plan. When Congress rejected cap-and-trade legislation back in 2010, it should have been clear to the president the feelings of the American people on this failed proposal.

In a state like Missouri, where 80 percent of our energy use comes from coal, the new EPA regulations would put an unnecessary burden on the backs of working people. While Americans are still struggling in this Obama economy, this is not the time to be cutting jobs or raising energy prices. These are costs that would especially hit the most vulnerable and poorest Americans.

To add insult to injury these cuts, which would cause devastating utility bill increases for low and middle income individuals, would result in only a negligible reduction in global carbon emissions. Protecting our planet for future generations is important to me, as it should be to all of us. Unfortunately, despite massive costs these regulations would not accomplish environmental goals.

Though the president has stated he is for an “all-of-the-above” approach to energy, these recent regulations would destroy coal in this country and show that he is more about an “all-of-the-above, but nothing-from-below” energy plan. This type of plan is bad for America. I am doing all that I can to promote a true “all-of-the-above” plan into action.

On June 24, the House passed the North American Energy Infrastructure Act. The legislation would modernize and reform the approval process for cross-border energy projects. It would expedite the construction, connection, operation, and maintenance of transportation of energy between our northern and southern neighbors. Earlier this year the House passed the Electricity Security and Affordability Act which would ensure that the U.S. keeps a diverse electricity-generating portfolio that allows a future for affordable energy from coal, as well as natural gas and renewables.

I continue to fight for the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. The president has sat on his hands for far too long, apparently unwilling to stand up for what is in the best economic and national security interests of this nation. The pipeline would bring much needed jobs to our country as well as decrease our dependence on foreign energy sources.

The president has long touted the fact that while he has been in office, production of oil and gas has increased. This is just another attempt to distort the facts. While oil production has increased by 61 percent, the rise in output has all come on nonfederal land according to the non-partisan Congressional Research Service. From 2009 to 2013 there has been a 6 percent decrease in crude oil and 28 percent decrease in natural gas production on federal lands since the president took office. This is a testament to the failed policies of the Obama administration and the success of free enterprise.

I strongly believe that every American should feel assured that they are living in a healthy, safe environment. These new regulations by the EPA do not accomplish that goal. While not doing much for the environment, the regulations would kill jobs and crush checkbooks of low income Americans. The president needs to be focusing on creating jobs and making it easier for Americans to make ends meet, not kowtowing to his liberal base to score political points.

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