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Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation Act of 2011

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. SHIMKUS. Mr. Chairman, I do apologize to my friend from California for coming late and kind of disrupting what was planned to be a closing, but this is an important debate, and my colleague from California and I have crossed sabers many times on these issues. I don't question his commitment to the environment and the regs and rules and the like.

As he knows, I'm from southern Illinois. I'm from an area that was devastated in the jobs issue and during the 1992 Clean Air Act, and I'm from an area of the country that still is not being all it can be based upon the excessive rules and regulations that come out of Washington, D.C.

The TRAIN Act is really a first step to help us ask a simple question: Shouldn't we, as an interagency process, shouldn't we at least ask the basic question of what effect is this going to have on jobs and what effect will it have on our competitiveness worldwide?

It is really a basic debate. It's a good one to have. I applaud the chairman for bringing this to the floor. We need an up-or-down vote because, as much as we want clean air, we would like jobs. They're not exclusionary. We can do both. We have the cleanest environment that anyone has seen in decades in this country, and it is attributed to the work that past Congresses have done. But the difference is this, that in today's environment--well, let's go back.

Three decades ago, when you wanted to clean up 50 percent of the emissions, you could make the capital investments and you could do it. The debate now is: How clean is clean? What is the cost benefit analysis and what is the effect on jobs if we get to a limit that you don't find naturally?

What the TRAIN Act basically does is it says, before we promulgate more rules and more regulations, we ought to at least admit the fact that it may affect our competitiveness in our economic position. We ought to accept the premise that if you continue to put more rules and regulations on electric generation, that electricity costs are going to go up. What does that do to the manufacturing sector? I think that's what this bill is just asking. If we find out these answers and we figure out that the economic costs outweigh the environmental benefit, well maybe we better slow down. If we decide the environmental benefits are so great that we're willing to accept the cost, then we ought to move forward. But for us not to have this debate is not doing our job and it is not doing our duty.

I am really pleased that we've brought this bill to the floor. We've had numerous hearings. We've gone through the legislative process. I appreciate Speaker Boehner and the openness because we've had hearings. We had a subcommittee mark. We've had a full committee mark. We've had this debate on amendments to this bill, and now we're ready to have this debate on the floor.

The last hearing we had in Chairman Whitfield's committee was on the reliability issue, and I took to task the chairman of the FERC who, in their own analysis, said that if we continue to move on this regulatory regime, 80 gigawatts of power is going to go offline. Now, EPA did the analysis, and they said eight. So you've got a tenfold difference. Well, maybe they're both wrong. Maybe it's 40 gigawatts.

My friends, 40 gigawatts is a lot of power and will affect the reliability of the electricity grid in this country. We rely on that reliability for a lot of things. We rely upon it in the manufacturing sector and the manufacturing facilities, but we also rely upon the reliability in the safety of our citizens who are in the hospitals and in long-term care who need power to those facilities just for their livelihood.

So if our aggressive environmental movement takes away 80 gigawatts of power, will that affect our electricity reliability? I think it will.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the time.


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