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Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Unknown


Mr. HOEVEN. Madam President, I thank Senator Cantwell, and I rise to speak in support of this amendment. I cosponsored the legislation.

This would provide that pulse crops--peas, beans, and lentils--are used in school lunch programs. It does not add additional cost. They are a high source of protein, very cost effective, and it is a growing--no pun intended--crop in our country.


Mr. HOEVEN. Mr. President, I rise to speak on the Utility MACT issue.

EPA's Utility MACT rule is a clear example of how overzealous regulations and a lack of a sensible energy policy are derailing investment and costing America jobs.

I support good, responsible policies to protect human health and safeguard our environment. These rules, however, need to bear the qualities of all good rules: They need to be simple, efficient, achievable, and affordable. In short, they need to make sense from both an environmental and economic perspective.

Unfortunately, as written, the Utility MACT rule--and others similar to it that the EPA is proposing--fails to find that proper balance. To the contrary, burdensome and complex new rules for the coal industry will not only discourage responsible energy growth but will prompt the complete shutdown of dozens of powerplants.

That will increase energy costs for consumers and businesses and, sadly, force thousands of hard-working Americans onto the unemployment rolls.

Utility MACT alone will require powerplants to install costly emission controls by 2015, with a pricetag for compliance of nearly $10 billion annually.

Moreover, EPA has made it clear there will only be limited extensions to give utilities the time they need to make the changes. We now have an opportunity to vote either to retain or reject the Utility MACT rule under the Congressional Review Act.

In fact, it is exactly this kind of rule that the Congressional Review Act was designed to address, by allowing Congress to review a new regulation and overrule it if that regulation is unfair or overreaching.

So we can send the EPA back to the drawing board and insist that the Agency come up with a plan that is simpler, more affordable and, most important, that is fairer by taking into account the livelihoods of hard-working Americans and their families. That is exactly what we need to do.

In my State of North Dakota, we have a lot of coal-fired electric generation. We supply power not only to our State but to the surrounding States as well--Minnesota, South Dakota, Montana, and well beyond. The reality is that we are producing more power, more electricity, and we are doing it with better environmental stewardship because, in our State, we have created the right legal tax and regulatory climate to stimulate that private investment, which is driving the new technology. In fact, we not only produce coal-fired electricity, we convert coal into synthetic natural gas.

But we are successfully doing that because we are driving the investment that is spurring the new technology that is producing more energy. And as we produce more energy, that same technology is also enabling us to do it with better environmental stewardship.

That is the win that we all seek. That is the win we all seek. Because that is not only about providing more electricity, more power, more energy for this country at a lower cost so that consumers benefit, it is also about creating high-quality, high-paying jobs for our American workers and, at the same time, providing better environmental technology through this investment, providing better environmental stewardship through this investment in new technologies. That is exactly what is happening, because we are empowering the industry to produce more electricity to develop, to grow and, again, to develop the technology that produces more technology with the better stewardship.

That is the direction we need to go, and that is why I urge my colleagues to vote for this Congressional Review Act that would require EPA to go back and redraft this rule. It is in the interest of the American workers whose jobs depend on the coal industry, and, ultimately, it is in the best interest of Americans who not only need the energy but, again, as we are able to continue to develop the technology, we produce better and better environmental stewardship.

With that, Mr. President, I yield the floor.


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