Friday, August 07, 2015

Hartzler: I will protect Missourisns from this clean power grab

(From Fourth District Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler)

The Obama Administration’s sweeping new rules and regulations for existing power plants are a harmful attack on families in Missouri and across the country. These ill-conceived rules will raise energy costs, reduce jobs, and hurt our fragile economic recovery.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), coal supplied Missouri with 83 percent of its net electricity generation in 2013. For the good people of Missouri’s Fourth District and those elsewhere in the state, coal is much more than a source of energy – it is an economic lifeline.

Implementing these rigid new rules would be devastating for rural parts of the country, like Missouri’s Fourth. A study by Energy Venture Analysis on the effects of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan, combined with several recent EPA power plant regulations, found that Missourians’ annual electric and gas utility bills would rise by about $1,000 annually by 2020 as compared to 2012. That represents a whopping 50 percent increase – and Missouri’s rural counties, many of which are in our district, would suffer.

The simple truth is that many of our counties are served by rural electric cooperatives which are largely dependent on coal-fired power. The new restrictions mean hardworking citizens living in those areas are most vulnerable and will be hardest hit. The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association fears that even a 10 percent increase in electricity prices would result in 1.2 million jobs lost, nationwide, by 2021, with almost half of those in rural communities.

Do we really want to see our rural families forced to choose between feeding their children and keeping the lights on?

Coal has proven it can provide affordable, clean energy for the people of our country. We don't' need Washington dictating how we get our energy or imposing their top-down approach onto hard-working Missourians. The Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan is yet another overreach from an executive branch that will make it harder for multiple families in our state to pay their bills.

I will continue working to protect Missourians from this latest Clean Power Grab and other executive overreaches. I am committed to working towards a balanced energy strategy that protects workers, pocketbooks, and families that rely on affordable energy.

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