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Public Statements

War on Coal

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mrs. HARTZLER. I thank the gentleman. I really appreciate you holding this special time, where we can show our support for the coal industry, as well as condemn the Obama administration's current war on coal, because that's what it is.

In Missouri, coal is our preferred source of energy for electrical generation due to its abundance and its low cost. Coal provides over 81 percent of Missouri's electric-power generation, and Missouri ranks 11th in the Nation in energy affordability. So that means the people of Missouri have more money that they can spend on other things for their family.

It also attracts businesses to our State. We want to keep it that way. We love coal in Missouri, and we appreciate the role that it plays in having affordable, safe energy in our country.

I wanted to show this picture to you and my colleagues here because a lot of people think in Missouri that we don't have coal mines. But I want to tell you, in the Fourth District of Missouri, we have a coal mine. This is a picture. My husband and I had the opportunity to go there and I snapped a few pictures, and let me tell you we are so proud of it. These hardworking people here are doing a great job in getting coal out of the ground and taking it to our local power plants.

This coal mine is providing great jobs in my district. These are high-paying, skilled jobs. I know some of the people that work here, and they appreciate this opportunity. This mine is also bringing in property taxes to our local schools, and it's helping the economy of the entire county, this region of the district. Plus, it is powering two of our local power plants nearby. So this is very exciting for us. We want to see this continue rather than having the current administration, through the EPA, try to rein us in and to force us to rely on more expensive, untested energy sources in our country.

You know, President Obama and the EPA are pushing this over-prescriptive, regulatory agenda without adequate cost-benefit analysis, workable timelines, and input from the industry. Both of the proposed and current regulations being promoted by the EPA are having sweeping negative impacts on coal-fueled electricity generation in this country.

Now, according to the National Economic Research Associates, it is estimated that compliance costs for these EPA regulations on the electric sector will average $15 billion to $16 billion per year. Who pays for that? Who's going to pay for the extra cost to our electric industry, $15 billion to $16 billion? I'll tell you who: it's the families in my district who are living from paycheck to paycheck and who are struggling to put food on the table. When they see their electric bill go up every month because of the EPA coming here from Washington, D.C., imposing these regulations on our electric industry, that's who ends up paying, and it's wrong.

It also is costing jobs. The same group estimated that these regulations are going to cost half a million jobs just next year. Now, we have too much unemployment in this country already. Why would the government administration from this President be pushing regulations that's going to kick out half a million more people from being able to work? Just in Missouri alone, the cost is expected to be $500 per household in higher electricity bills. It's wrong.

I want to just point out two of these regulations that are driving this cost and impacting them--and several of my colleagues have mentioned several of them already. But these two I wanted to bring to your attention.

The New Source Performance Standards for new coal units are establishing new guidelines that control carbon dioxide emissions from any newly constructed coal and natural gas power plants. This proposal requires new coal units to meet a standard so low that it effectively is going to ban new coal plants. My friend and colleague from Kentucky did a very good job of illustrating this. I wanted to reiterate, though, the quote from our President about this administration. He admitted in 2008 that his goal was to bankrupt new coal-fired power plants. Now, that is wrong. Here's what he said:

If somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can. It's just that it will bankrupt them because they're going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted.

Now, it's frustrating to me that the Obama administration, our President, would target an industry that is providing clean, affordable energy for our country, providing jobs in my district and all across this country, and keeping that electricity bill at home low for our families, but he is.

The second regulation that he is talking about is going to impact what's called coal ash and try to make it a hazardous waste. Now, this is something that is not hazardous. It is going to increase the cost of cement. Now, we need cement. We're building new highways. We need it in building new homes. We need it for our businesses that are building. Why would we do this? It's going to increase the cost for that.

We have in Missouri five cement plants that provide 12,000 jobs. Yet if this continues to go through we're going to see an increase in cement cost.

So here, gentleman, we have two examples of regulations coming out of Washington here that are increasing the cost for our families at home and that are killing jobs and increasing our electricity costs. It's wrong, and I will continue to stand against it. And I appreciate all my colleagues as we stand together tonight against this and we make a stand for low-cost, reliable energy, and that is coal. I commend you for having this, and I encourage all my colleagues to join us in this very important effort.


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