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Public Statements

The GOP Jobs Offensive: Rolling Back Job Killing Regulations

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. CARTER. Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that, and I thank my friend from Kentucky for being here. I wanted to let him know that I have enjoyed the day. It's been a wonderful challenge and great working with him. I thank my friend for all the good work we did today.

Today from 1 o'clock until close to 7 o'clock, we were debating the Cement Industry Relief Act, and I'm going to just rehash that a little bit.

Before I start, Mr. Speaker, I had a constituent who approached me about the fact that as we're here tonight, that you and I are in a relatively empty Chamber except for all these fine folks that are all here working on behalf of the American people and that accused me of trying to fool the American people into thinking this was a full room.

So I just wanted to set the record straight because he honestly didn't believe I would do it, that most evenings we are talking to our colleagues back in their offices and so forth who are keeping up with this on C-SPAN. This is often a very small group of folks who are in this Chamber. I'm not trying to fool anybody, and I was offended by the fact that he accused me of doing that. So I wanted to make the record clear as I started tonight that you and I are working here together.

So now that I've gotten that little pledge that I made to one of my constituents taken care of--I hope he was watching--I want to say that we've been talking for quite some time about the regulatory burden that's being placed on the American people and what that has to do with our economy, the fact that we may be approaching a double-dip recession, God forbid--but there's all indications that we could be--and the fact that we're losing jobs. We've got to, instead, stop losing jobs. We've got to save jobs and start creating jobs.

The truth is that the job creators of this world are, first and foremost, our small business people. We had a whole group of small business people who came up to hear the President's speech when he talked to us the other day. They sat right up in this section of the gallery, and later they talked to the press and others about what they thought was necessary for their individual small businesses to start to grow, to prosper, and to create jobs. It's a funny thing. I didn't hear from any of them--and there were about 12--that what we need is a government bailout, that what we need is a government stimulus.

What they said was, We need the government to quit throwing up roadblocks to us prospering in our businesses. They mentioned the fact that access to capital was difficult in this country because of regulations that had been issued under the Dodd-Frank Act. They mentioned the unknown about what's going to happen as the regulations are being developed for health care, for what we call the ObamaCare bill.

As those regulations are being developed, every day it seems like they hear something new that is going to be mandatory in health care. As mandatory regulations are put upon the insurance providers of health care, the prices go up. Then as many of these small business people who are diligently trying to keep their employees hired and their employees insured as the ongoing rulings by these regulators under the health care bill are coming to the forefront so people can know about them, they hear from their providers that the prices went up.

Some of them tell me that it's now getting to a point where the costs that are being put upon them--basically the cost of these regulations--are actually making them have to decide, Not only are we not going to be able to hire anybody, but we're not going to be able to keep everybody we've got because we're doubling and sometimes tripling our costs of providing health care for our employees. Quite honestly, with the number of employees we've got, we're just going to have to double up, and some people are going to have to carry bigger shifts. We have to do that. Where, in reality, the best business practice would be to hire somebody, the regulations keep us from doing that.

Then they tell us, With the unknown of the tax structure that we've got and the fact that what we now after 12 years are still calling the Bush tax cuts, which in reality is the tax plan that we're under now, there's a very good possibility that that tax plan might go away. Then the small business man and his accounting folks will have to look clear back to the era of Bill Clinton to see what the taxes were like then so they'll know what the taxes will be like if this body lets those things expire. They see that it's going to cause a tremendous amount of acceleration of their expenditures to pay extra taxes.

So they say, With that being unknown, with the final price tag for health care being unknown and then with learning that there are other agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency and others that are going to impose additional regulations and additional rules on our small businesses, well, you know what, we can't afford to hire anybody. Even if we could make it better and make a more prosperous business than we have, because of the unknowns, we can't afford to do that.

Quite honestly, the President is going around all over the country. So far, he's been, I think, to every member of the leadership's district but mine, and he is telling people to tell the Congress to vote for his jobs bill, he calls it. I think it's the great American jobs bill or something to that effect. He's telling us the facts that he thinks we need to know about it; but that jobs bill has a lot more in it that is unknown, and the American people know that.

I mean, this isn't their first rodeo, as we say in Texas. They've been here before; and they know that when they've got a giant bill with giant expenditures and when all they're hearing are talking points on the television and the radio, they need somebody to look at that bill. Those of us who are here who are looking at it are seeing many, many onerous things that exist in that bill that are not being talked about.

The other night, Congressman Louie Gohmert was talking about some of the things he discovered as he was reading the bill. You haven't heard anyone talking about the things that he has discovered, but those things are important to the American people. It means their lives change both at home and in their businesses. American businessmen know that these unknowns are out there, and they are concerned about these unknowns. The unknown creates fear. It creates hesitation on behalf of the people who create jobs in this country.

The real jobs are the jobs that you get hired for and you make a living out of. It becomes a career job, and you are able to have a career and hopefully work in that industry until you decide it's not in your best interest to work there or until you're ready to retire with a retirement and a Social Security system that you can trust.

They say, But we're not sure we can trust that.

With a health care plan that you can trust. But we're not sure we can trust that.

We've got to put truth in front of the American people. We've got to get honest about what is in the bills that are out here. We have to be honest and stand up to the regulators and say, Wait a minute, what you're doing is going to cause people in my district back home and across this country to not be able to hold onto the jobs they've got.

This is the kind of thing that is causing a lot of the problems we have today.

Franklin Roosevelt said in the Great Depression: ``The only thing we have to fear is fear, itself.'' I think it's an argument that's still going on as to why private industry is fearful to hire new employees--because they don't know what the results of that hiring will be as far as the bottom line of their profit margins.

So I have been taking on the regulators and talking about various regulations and how colleagues in the House with me have bills and that we are taking up one a week until we get all of them before this Congress and, hopefully, get a vote and get them out of this House and over to the Senate.

Then we hope and pray and beg and cajole the Senators, maybe, to take up the bills. We have a stack of bills sitting over on Harry Reid's desk right now that have been passed that will make a difference in creating jobs in this country; but he announces when they get there that they're dead on arrival and that the Senate is not going to act. The Senate gets paid to act, but they seem to think, this year, they get paid not to act. That's an issue between the American people and the
Senate, but we have bills that are going over there. We will continue to send bills over to our colleagues in the Senate, and we are hopeful that as we approach the possibility of a double-dip recession that they'll open up a couple of those bills and take a look at them and see if they might help. I think they might.

Today, on the floor of this House, I've been involved, by permission of the chairman, in this debate on the cement regulations. We've been talking of and dealing with amendments since 1 o'clock. So I've been here a long time, but I kind of like it. I enjoyed the conversation with my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, and we had a good debate. All the amendments had been voted on and passed up until 7 o'clock, and the other amendments will be voted on tomorrow, then the final passage of this bill that is described right here, H.R. 2681.

What it does--probably is kind of hard to read--it provides employers with extended compliance period. What we've got is another form I want you to look at in this debate. I'll put it down there, and I'll hang it up there in a minute.

First, what this bill does, it provides additional time to comply with the Clean Air Act and the rules that they've set relative to the manufacture of Portland cement. It blocks current regulatory overreach by the authority. It gives the EPA at least 15 months to re-propose and finalize new and available rules that do not destroy jobs.

It affects the Cement MACT and two related rules. It's expected to affect approximately 100--this current set of rules is expected to affect 100 cement plants in America, has already caused suspension of a new $350 million cement plant proposed in, I believe, the State of Alabama, putting 1,500 construction jobs on hold.

That's what this proposed rule has already done. What this does is say time out, EPA, you're killing jobs.

So here's what we ask you to do. I want you to look at this rule and look at it in light of the fact that there's a possibility that 20 percent or more of these 100 cement plants will close. They will either close down and stop making Portland cement in the United States, or they will close down until they can open up overseas in an environment that is, quite honestly, not regulated at all. Not that our Americans don't want clean air, they do. But if they've got the clean air rules that are going to destroy them because of the cost, and the fact that they can't meet the standards and there aren't scrubbers to help them meet the standards, then they're going to say, well, if I'm going to stay in business I have got to go someplace where the regulations are not so fierce.

Now, why do I say they're fierce? Well, historically when we started off our environmental cleanup--which is a great thing, and every American's proud of it--I can remember that Europeans were held out as an example, just as they're being held out today as an example of green energy. They were held out as an example on water and air quality of how dedicated regimes could come up with solutions to solve the air and the water problem.

We have all seen the Sherlock Holmes movies of the smog and the fog in London, and it's gone. We've all heard of the pollution of the Rhine River, and it's not polluted anymore. And the Europeans were held out as having set the standards that the world needed to follow.

Well, let's look at the standards that the Europeans sets for the cement industry. The EU has just issued their final standards. The parameter for mercury, the U.S. standard in the EPA rule that we are dealing with in House bill 2681 is .01 percentage of mercury as an emission. The European standard, supposedly the state-of-the-art, is .05. Our standard is five times more restrictive than the European standard.

Hydrochloric acid, our standard is 3.83. The European standard is 10.

In particulate matter, our standard is 7.72, the particulate matter standard in Europe, in the EU, is 20.

So the people that we and the progressives in this House held up as the model for knowing how to clean up the atmosphere and clean up the water was the EU. They have issued rules approximately at the same time we have issued our rules, and you can see how much more stringent the rules we're placing on the industries of America versus the rules that are being placed on the European industries, our competitors.

I don't mean in any way to criticize the Europeans. I just find it questionable, if the Europeans say .05 and we've got .01, and we're dealing with mercury, which is one of the pollutants that are discussed in the issue of Portland cement factories, then it's five times more difficult for us to meet the standards.

At least from what the industry says, there is equipment available to meet the European standard. Our standard at this time doesn't have equipment available to meet it. So even if they wanted to jump in and do it in the 3-year time period they have to do it, they know they can't. They don't think they can meet that standard. They feel it's either going to be cost-prohibitive because of research and development to come up with solutions, or it's not going to be reachable at all, which could cause major fines. After they spent millions of dollars trying, they said, heck, we just can't do it.

At least 20 percent of the plants have already said, hey, we just can't do it. We're small, small businesses, we're not the giant conglomerates that people presume us to be, but most of our folks that own cement plants own anywhere from one to maybe five, some of them have a few more. But most of them are fairly small, a one-family or one-person operation. They're sitting there saying, we can't meet it, we're going to shut down; or we're going to look at the areas in the world where we can meet it, maybe Mexico--which does have some standards but nothing anywhere even near the standards of Europe--or maybe we'll go to China or to India where they basically have no standards, not that we want to have a plant like that. But if we put the plant that has got the filters on it right now that meets a current standard and take it over there, at least we won't be polluting the atmosphere too much more, and we'll at least be able to be in business.

What does that mean to us? Well, the President of the United States is going all over the country, and he's making speeches. And one of the things he says is don't the Republicans want to rebuild the infrastructure of this country? Don't they want to construct new schools and repair the old schools?

Well, have you ever looked at what kinds of materials we use to build schools in the current modern world? Of course, even in the old antique world you start with a foundation made out of, what, concrete, which is made with Portland cement. So, if the Portland cement is moving overseas, and we have less and less people that can meet the standard--and it could be more than 20 percent that moved--those are the ones who have told us they'll move.

But as a business practice they're going to look at it and see if they can make it work. Now why do I say it is going to be tough to work? Well let's look at it.

They're roughly a $6 billion industry. The estimated cost agreed upon--and the EPA doesn't dispute this--the estimated cost of making the changes to these plants, to meet the requirements set by the .01 on mercury, is $3.4 billion. So the whole industry makes $6 billion, and they have got to pay $3.4 billion to fix the problem.

Now, that is half, more than half of the income from the whole industry to fix these problems. When you think about that, that's a terrible, terrible hit for people who are in the business of making a profit. I don't think anybody in America thinks that people are supposed to work for no salary and no profit.

And, by the way, the jobs that we have in the cement industry are good-paying labor jobs. They make somewhere between something like $45,000 to $65,000 at the lower range and $65,000 to $85,000 or $90,000 in the upper range. That's a good-paying job.

Now, why would we want to ship that job out of the country so that America loses a job and somebody in India or China or Mexico gets a job? Why would we want to do that? That's a question we have to ask ourselves.

What our bill does, it says to the EPA, take another look at this and take into consideration the economic impact on our economy, take into consideration the impact on employment in our economy and the impact on lost jobs in our economy and the good you will do for the health care issues that are raised and have been raised all day by the Democratic Party in this Chamber.

Does anybody want sick people? Of course not. And to make that accusation against those of us who say these are onerous regulations I think is ridiculous. Nobody wants somebody to get sick, but is what we're doing going to keep them well? Let's examine that and see what we think.

I've shown this map before, but this is a very, very informative map. It tells you the percentage of mercury deposition that originates outside of the United States. And the red is somewhere between 78 and 100. So in the areas that are tinted red there, the mercury that's in those areas, between 100 percent and 78 percent of it comes from outside this country. It's because the prevailing winds blow the plume of mercury from the areas where there are no restrictions and no clean air, and that would basically be Communist China and India. They choose to live like that. That's their choice, but their pollution blows to our country.

The yellow is from 78 to, it looks like, 58. So between 78 percent and 58 percent of the areas marked in yellow are foreign pollution. The green is between 58 percent and 19 percent that's foreign pollution in that area. And the blue, there is very little blue, just a few dots up on the East Coast and a couple of dots in the Midwest, the blue is 19 to zero is foreign pollution.

So with that much mercury as the example coming from other sources, putting the kind of burden that this thing does on our industry, which has nothing to do with the pollution source from outside our country, and yet we're going to make our folks meet a standard of 0.01 when our other clean competitor, EU, is 0.05, so you can see why the industry would say, yeah, there's plenty of equipment to meet 0.05, but we don't think we can meet 0.01.

So what does this mean? Well, it means in Oregon where they have already cleaned up their plant, one plant has announced if these rules go into effect, after they've cleaned up their plant to meet the best standards available and being told it's not good enough, they're saying, We may have to close this plant. And people in Oregon are going to lose jobs that pay $80,000 to $100,000 a year.

What's wrong with this picture? Well, I'll tell you what's wrong with it. The regulators are not thinking about whose job is going to get lost.

And meanwhile, if we cleaned up our 100 plants, and this is the pollution that's coming in from foreign sources, then how in the world are we going to say we're protecting our children from disease? Well, if you're going to protect our children from disease, what about all of this pollution? We can't do anything about that. We need to, but we can't.

So sometimes when you get a job and you work for an agency, you become so wrapped up in trying to save the world from your standpoint that you don't think about who gets hurt in the process. But I think it's pretty clear who gets hurt is some people who have some pretty darn good jobs. And that 9 percent unemployment figure could rapidly go up just in this industry of good American labor folks who lose great-paying jobs. And who do they lose them to? Foreign operations.

And then you ask people: Why do our jobs keep going overseas? At least in the concrete industry, the cement industry, we know.

Also, as Mr. Obama travels the country, he loves to talk about we're going to rebuild infrastructure. We talked about that in the original stimulus bill, and how out of all those $600 billion or $700 billion, whatever it was we spent--I know it turned out to be around 50 or $60 billion that actually went to highways even though we were promised we were going to fix all of the highways and bridges, but let's just assume that they are going to fix the highways and bridges right now. If the cement industry is in trouble, then the concrete industry is going to be in trouble. And they have already had a 62 percent reduction in both those industries in the last 4 years because the economy has been bad and they're in the construction business.

So how are we going to build a bridge across the Mississippi River when we have to ship the products that we need to make our concrete over from China? Well, we'll do it. We'll figure out a way to transport that across the ocean. It can be done.

But remember when the President told us he found out that shovel-ready jobs in America weren't always shovel ready? Well, it's because something stood in between the time the shovel actually got used because there were other things that stood in the way. I would argue many of those other things were regulations. They were environmental regulations. They were endangered species regulations. And now they would be Portland cement regulations if this regulation stays in place.

Now, is this bill unreasonable? Well, we can analyze that for ourselves. It doesn't say we don't want to clean up the air. It says take another look at this. Factor in the economic impact and the labor impact, and then try to come up with a number that we have existing new ideas to clean up to, and that seems to be 0.05. And then when you've come up with a final rule that is doable in the industry as it exists--and that's part of the direction that EPA is given. It needs to be doable out in the actual working environment that it's in, not in some laboratory someplace. If you put rules together that will do that, then we'll all start to do it. And give us 5 years--we may do it quicker, but give us at least 5 years to spread out the cost because we're talking about a lot of cost for an industry that has to struggle. So give them a chance to get this thing done in a reasonable point of time.

Meanwhile, we're not making the air any dirtier. We're just maintaining the status quo which was cleaned up in 1999 and cleaned up again in 2006. So this is the third new standard. It's not like we have the dirty plants like our foreign competitors. No, we don't. We cleaned our act up in 1999 and cleaned them up again in 2006, and the only thing that kept anything from getting done was lawsuits filed by environmentalists who said it wasn't enough.

Well, the industry tries its best to meet the standards. Obviously, they change almost every 5 years. So what's wrong with a period of time that says give us a chance to have 5 years to change? It's not unreasonable. It's a reasonable request to save jobs and keep an American industry alive in this country. So that's the example. That's what's being discussed today.

Next week and the week after that, there will be other bills that are out there.

Here is one that's probably the next one to come along, the Boiler MACT rules. What does that mean? Well, it means that we are taking a look at industries and entities that use boilers in their operation either to heat and cool or whatever, but they use a boiler to do it. And this is going to take place I think if not this week, early next week, maybe tomorrow.

Here's a statement about it. From hospitals to factories to colleges to industry, thousands of major American employers use boilers that will be impacted by the EPA's new Boiler MACT rules. These stringent rules will impose billions of dollars in capital and compliance costs, increase the costs of many goods and services, and put over 200,000 people's jobs at risk. American forest and paper industry, for example, will see an additional burden of at least 5 to $7 billion.

H.R. 2250, a bill that we will have, the EPA Regulatory Relief Act, sponsored by Morgan Griffith of Virginia, will provide a legislative stay of four interrelated rules issued by the EPA in March of this year. The legislation would also provide the EPA with at least 15 months to repropose and finalize new and achievable rules that do not destroy jobs and provide employers with an extended compliance period.

Sound familiar? It's basically the same thing.

Hold up. What you're doing could cost 200,000 jobs and billions of dollars in extra costs. Take another look at it. Take a look at the jobs in a possibly double-dip recession that's coming up and say, Is that really what we want to do? Do we really want to have a potential of losing 200,000 jobs or more because we're not willing to take another look and see if there's not a better idea to make this thing clean? What's another 15 months when you are being told these kind of economic ramifications are there? And, by the way, give us 4 years to put them in place once you come up with these reasonable rules.

This is not unreasonable. This is, again, thinking first about the working person and thinking first about our economy and what it takes to make our place run in a clean, efficient, and manageable manner. And if we don't get that, we lose jobs.

In this environment, for the last 3 years, we've had an interesting concept. When we put the stimulus package out there, we were waiting to hear how many jobs we had created. Well, we heard about a few. Some of those jobs cost a lot of money to create them. You get a $40,000-a-year job and you spend $1 million of America's tax money to get that $40,000-a-year job. It's not real economically feasible, but we have some of those jobs. But the other thing we heard from people was, oh, well, it's not just the jobs we create; it's the jobs we saved. Well, that's exactly what we're talking about.

We've got evidence that jobs are going down the tubes as a result of the action of a United States Government bureau, the Environmental Protection Agency. They are going to cause potentially the loss of 200,000 jobs. Pass this, and we've just saved, just like the Obama administration, we just saved 200,000 jobs. This is good. This is how we do things now. We've been told for the last 3 years this is how we estimate we're doing good.

Now, it didn't turn out exactly that way, but at least you're not going to make those unemployment numbers go up. And one of our goals is to stop those things from going up and start them going down. It's the goal of every American. It's the goal of the President, and it's the goal of every American that works up here on the Hill. We have different concepts of how to go about it. We can look at the concepts that have been used thus far and see what their success is.

How about looking at some new ideas and see how successful those will be? If we can cut costs to people who create jobs, we'll get more jobs. If we can keep jobs that pay well for the American worker, he will be able to buy product. He will be in the market. He will help create demand, and we will have more jobs.

But if we are going to, by an action of a Federal agency, if we are going to cost 200,000 jobs and cause industry to go out and spend an inordinate amount, in the billions of dollars, to make the corrections, how many jobs do you think--when they get it cranked up and meeting the EPA standards, how many jobs do you think they're going to create after that? Well, first they have to figure out a way to make up that 5 to $7 billion that the printing industry says they're going to lose. And how are they going to make that up? Guess what? They're not going to hire anybody.

This is not rocket science. This is pretty simple. If you don't have the money, you can't hire anybody. And if you've had to spend money you didn't expect to spend to the tune of 5 to 7 billion--with a B--dollars, it's a tremendous hit. And that's just one industry. That's just the forest and paper industry. In that situation, they're not hiring anybody. You don't have to be a genius to figure that out. It's easy for you to figure that out.

So by the very nature of the regulation we're talking about on boilers, we could be looking at the loss of 200,000 jobs and an extended period that that industry isn't hiring anybody.

Just to give you an example of the regulations that are out there, we've already dealt with a bill by Representative Scott about the National Labor Relations Board telling Boeing that they couldn't build a plant in South Carolina when they wanted to because South Carolina was not a closed shop union State. Mr. Sullivan today is working on the Cement MACT bill. Mr. Griffin is in line, in the queue, to come up with solutions for the Boiler MACT bill. Mr. McKinley has a bill that has to do with coal ash rules. Mrs. Noem has a bill to deal with farm dust rules. And I, with several of my colleagues, have a bill to put a 2-year moratorium on regulations. And we will hopefully come with a bill that will be reasonable, accessible, and acceptable to the people that are concerned about this and put a stop to this question mark that industry is asking: What's around the corner? Because there's tons of rules around the corner.

In the month of July, there's almost 300 new major rules that will affect this country with over $100 million or more. There were almost 300 of them. In August, there were almost 400 of them. Now we're just talking about one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, right here, bills to deal with seven instances. But the person who keeps up and looks at these other regulations that are out there says, Holy cow, what's out there? If these things are going to cost, like the example with this EPA Regulatory Relief Act, if the Boiler MACT rules are going to cost one industry $7 billion, what about all those other rules? We don't even know what they do. And what are they going to do to us?

And once again we have to convince the people who are standing on the sidelines to get back in the game and hire folks so we'll have jobs in this country.

It is unacceptable for us to look at 9 percent unemployment as the low figure for this year. It's unacceptable. It's been much higher. We've come down to 9.3, we seem to have stuck there, but that's unacceptable for an unemployment number in America. But you can't stop it unless you get real jobs created by real people. And the way you do that is take the unknown out of their lives at least until we can get our feet back on the ground.

You know, throwing all the money in the world at our problems, we have some pretty good examples of how that doesn't work, the stimulus bill being the perfect example. We threw a half a billion dollars at that solar company out there in California that is under Federal investigation by the Justice Department for what they did with our money. A half a billion dollars was thrown at those people, and what happened? Where is our money? Where did it go? They shut the doors. They declared bankruptcy. We threw it at them in a relatively short period of time, 2 or 3 years. That's a lot of money to blow in 2 or 3 years. We're now learning that some of the stuff they have is like the--not Mercedes Benz, but more the Lamborghini model of furniture and fixtures and so forth, high-dollar stuff. But the reality is we threw money at a problem, and the money didn't solve it. I don't think we should throw money at these problems that we've got right now. I think we should instigate common sense for the problems we've got right now.

I mentioned some of those things that are out there. We've got another bill that's very interesting. It has to do with cross-state air pollution--CSAPR they call this--for utility plants. These are plants that produce electricity. And the truth is that there was a concept, it was designed for the eastern part of the United States because the States are a lot smaller in the eastern part of the United States. So if you're living in Vermont, New Hampshire--and I'm not picking on them, they're just side by side, fairly small. If a plant in Vermont has prevailing winds blowing into New Hampshire and they've got some pollutant out there, they want to be able to stop the cross-State-line expansion of pollution into another State. And that's what these rules are set for.

They set out specifically which States would be under these rules--they expanded them some, but it was designed for the Midwest, some southern States, and the Northeast. And it specifically, for instance, said Texas is not under these rules. Then 19 days before they issued the final rule they said, oh well, we decided, even though we didn't test any of the air, didn't test any of the directions of the air, didn't do any monitoring at all in the State of Texas, we're putting them under the rule anyway, and we're just going to presume that the prevailing winds blow the way we think they do. I don't think anybody that wrote that rule had ever set foot in the State of Texas or they would have known better than that. But they presumed that we were blowing all of our air, any pollution we created up to the Midwest and the Northeast. They presumed that our prevailing winds blew from the Southwest to the Northeast. And I think anybody that lives in Texas knows that's far from the prevailing winds in Texas. If anything, if we have a prevailing wind, it blows from the Gulf of Mexico--which is the Southeast--to the Northwest of our country. And the rest of the West, by the way, is not under these rules, with the exception of Oklahoma.

So these rules are going to impose such onerous air standard qualities that at least in the State of Texas, with one company, they have 13 power plants, they're saying they're going to close two--even before this starts they're going to close two. They're going to close one coal mine. They're going to stop shipping Western coal to that part of our State--because these are coal-powered plants. So there's two offline right there of the 13 they've got online. And potentially they could shut down more than that, maybe even half. That's one company's power plants.

Now, what does that do to you, to us as American citizens? It makes the price of electricity go up. It makes the possibility of a brownout and a blackout more relevant. If it's too cold or it's too hot--and down where we live it's mostly too hot--you might have a power outage. If you take power plants offline because they can't meet EPA standards because the standards are too onerous--and quite honestly a complete surprise in our State because we didn't even know we were supposed to be under this set of rules--we're probably going to have power shortages in our State.

But that's not all. The rest of the country has got these rules too, and they're just as surprising and onerous as they are to us. The only difference between them and us is they knew they were going to be under it--this is the eastern part of the country. We didn't know we were going to be under it, so we've got a particularly loud gripe. But other States are saying the same thing: Holy cow, what are we going to do?

The Midwest, almost all their power comes from coal--not in our State; we still have oil and gas. But in the Midwest, all their power comes from coal. What are they going to do when they start shutting down plants? How cold is it going to be in Chicago this next year--which my dad claims when the wind blows off the lake is the coldest place on Earth--how cold is it going to be when they shut down the power plants in the central part of the United States in the Midwest? It's a frightening thought.

The impact on humanity ought to be one of the analyses that's made when you start making an analysis under these EPA regulations. Nobody wants to dirty up the air, but you can do it with reasonable assumptions as to how much harm you're going to do when you start doing it. And the harm we're looking at here is a lot of harm. It's downright scary what can happen in a cold winter or a hot summer.

We're in the middle of a drought right now in Texas. And where I live, it hasn't rained in--gosh, I don't know, a long time, at least 4 or 5 months. We had barely a sprinkle on top of my patio in the back yard--didn't even get my street wet, but they called it rain. I don't count that. I'm talking about when it rains. Now, could we get one? Yeah. We're a land of wild weather. We could get one tomorrow that would wash us off the face of the Earth. But that's fine--we could use it.

But the point is, that sure tells you how hot it has been. From starting in May until late in the month of September, almost the entire State of Texas had over 100-degree weather every single day. Normally our hot weather starts in late July through August, mid-September we're over 100. We had 105 and 106 the whole summer long. Now you can just imagine how much electricity got cranked out.

If we implement the rules that are imposed by the EPA, we will double the cost of electricity. I'll use my electricity bill as an example. The entire summer my electricity bill was approximately $600 plus a month. What that's telling me is look for $1,200 bucks a month. The guy that's got $200 bucks a month--which is the average smaller home in our area--he's looking at $400 a month. It's a shocker to have something like that happen to you and to realize it had to because people didn't think out regulations they imposed. We can still meet the standards and not put our people at risk. These are the kinds of things that we're talking about that so concern us.

And the first thing, when this all happens--and the reason I've been talking about this now for almost a year is because I'm convinced that a lot of Americans believe that when this happens to them in their life, they believe this is done because the Congress of the United States passed some law that caused that to happen.

They don't know that it's an unelected group of bureaucrats in an agency somewhere that made this decision, not Members of this Congress, not the people they elect to speak for them in Washington, D.C. No, people who have jobs that they can't be fired from and who are entrenched in these agencies around this town write rules that affect the lives of ordinary Americans, and they never know where they came from unless they're in the industry that gets affected. Industry knows what bureaucrats do, but the average American citizen, he doesn't know. That's why everywhere I go, I talk about this because I want everybody to know, but particularly I want my folks back home that I represent to know just what these agencies do on their causes that causes the cost of living to go up.

Well, I'm about through, so I'll do this the easy way. I want to thank the Speaker for his patience. I've got plenty more to talk about. We'll talk about it on another day.

I yield back the balance of my time.


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