Another strike was launched by the EPA today in President Obama's war on coal, one that hits home for Wyoming. The EPA's new rule essentially bans construction of new coal-fired power plants by requiring them to use emission-cutting technology that hasn't been perfected yet. U.S. Senators Mike Enzi and John Barrasso, both R-Wyo., offered legislation last week that would stop this job-killing rule, but the president's ally, the Senate majority leader, has brought Senate business to a standstill by refusing to allow a vote on the legislation.
Last week Barrasso and Enzi offered an amendment to an energy efficiency bill the Senate is considering. The Wyoming senators' amendment would send all proposed energy-related regulations to Congress for approval, giving elected representatives veto power over EPA bureaucrats. The majority is using procedural tactics to block consideration of the amendment and therefore has stalled consideration of the entire bill.
"Our energy sector is too important to leave its fate to a few Washington bureaucrats and a president who obviously has a bias against energy that comes out of the ground," said Enzi. "If you can make it too expensive to open a new power plant, you effectively put a stop to coal use in this country. That's the president's plan and he's moving forward with it. Congress should be setting energy policy for the country, not the Administration through backdoor, unaccountable executive actions. The amendments Senator Barrasso and I have offered would help take the teeth out of the war on coal and other traditional forms of energy. It opens up this debate to the American people and would allow for an honest and open discussion."
"In Wyoming, we know how valuable coal is to our communities and recognize that it's our most affordable, reliable and secure source of energy," said Barrasso. "We all support a clean environment--but this new proposal is an extreme overreach that will increase unemployment and energy bills for Wyoming families. The EPA's new red tape will shut down coal plants and devastate communities across the country. Sacrificing more and more coal jobs as an offering to environmental extremists, for what they admit will have no impact on the climate, is politics at its worst. It's time for the President to stop focusing on bankrupting Wyoming and America's coal industry, and refocus on embracing all of America's abundant and affordable energy sources. He can start by ending his "war on fossil fuels' and immediately approving the Keystone XL pipeline."
Enzi and Barrasso also offered an amendment to the energy efficiency bill that would strip the EPA of its authority over state regional haze plans. The proposal by the EPA ignores more than a decade's worth of work on this subject by officials in Wyoming and seems to be more designed to regulate coal out of existence than to regulate haze. The amendment would protect the legal right of the states in retaining primacy on regulating regional haze.
The rule President Obama and the EPA announced today will require power plants to utilize carbon capture technology that hasn't been commercially built or integrated without federal financial assistance. These regulations are expected to increase the cost of coal fired power at a new plant by over 75 percent.
The president's energy plan and regulations will increase energy prices, cut jobs, and damage our economy, but the president in his never-ending political campaign would rather appease the anti-energy factions in his party and pass a national energy tax that the country simply cannot afford, according to the senators.
Both Enzi and Barrasso will join Sen. McConnell in immediately filling a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act to stop the EPA from imposing its new regulations. The resolution will help ensure a vote to repeal the regulation.