Mr. ROTHFUS. I thank the gentleman from Kentucky, and I rise today in solidarity with the middle class workers and families who call western Pennsylvania home.
President Obama's war on coal is a threat to their livelihood and to our communities. From the mine and power plant workers who have received pink slips because of misguided regulations, to the middle class moms who are trying to pay monthly utility bills, to the restaurants and barbershops and other small businesses concerned about costs, President Obama's onerous regulations will negatively impact our communities.
Coal is an essential part of our economy and infrastructure. It is an abundant, affordable, and reliable source of energy that powers our streetlights, schools, and factories. Coal-fired power plants generate 40 percent of electricity in Pennsylvania and 37 percent around the country. Electricity derived from coal is more affordable for families and businesses.
The coal industry employs more than 41,000 hardworking women and men across our commonwealth. Unfortunately, these workers, their families, and their communities are the ones who will suffer as a result of the EPA's unreasonable regulations and President Obama's war on coal.
These burdensome regulations have forced the electric generating industry to shutter coal-fired power plants and lay off workers. Six of these coal-fired power plants in our commonwealth--including several in Western Pennsylvania--have been marked for closure since the beginning of last year. The power company placed part of the blame on the burdensome cost of federal environmental regulation.
The resulting slowdown in demand and surge in costly regulation have forced coal mines to shut down or reduce production. Last summer, the head of a Western PA coal company attributed the idling of some of its mines to the escalating costs and uncertainty caused by EPA regulations.
Layoffs caused by shuttering of power plants and idling of coal mines--and job losses in related industries--devastate middle-class workers, their families, and their communities.
It is too easy for unelected federal elites in Washington to write regulations without an understanding of the human costs of their actions.
That is why I am working with my colleagues to pass the REINS Act. The REINS Act will provide a check and balance on the Obama Administration by requiring that any regulation with an annual economic impact of $100 million or more be subject to the approval of the House and Senate. Last week, I voted in favor of the REINS Act in the House Judiciary Committee. The Act was approved and now moves to the full House for consideration.
Middle-class moms and dads, coal miners, seniors, and those on fixed incomes deserve the support of all of my colleagues in the House and Senate on a pro-growth agenda. I call on both chambers to pass the REINS Act as a good first step towards sensible regulation that helps grow all parts of our economy.
There is a war on coal in this country, and it needs to stop. It's time to keep the lights on in America. It's time to relight America, and we need to do that here in this House and stop this war on coal.
With that, I thank the gentleman from Kentucky.