Wicker Objects to President’s Radical Climate Agenda

Sweeping EPA Power Grabs Would Cost Jobs, Hurt Economic Growth

July 8, 2013

In a recent speech on climate change, President Obama confirmed what many of his critics have long alleged:  Rather than advancing a truly “all-of-the-above” energy strategy, his Administration is determined to wage an all-out war on coal.  Leading the charge is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which the President has recruited to launch costly new rules and restrictions in a bold display of executive overreach. 

War on Coal

The President’s decision to side-step Congress is hardly surprising, given the shortage of bipartisan support for his extreme environmental agenda.  Both Republicans and Democrats recognize the consequences of issuing drastic regulations on coal, which remains a primary source of energy production in America – fueling 37 percent of our electricity.

Under the severe standards the Administration is proposing, many coal-fired power plants would go bankrupt or close, putting more than 250,000 American jobs at risk.  Businesses would feel the effect of the stricter rules in the form of additional compliance costs, and consumers would be saddled with higher energy bills.  The impact on industry could jeopardize the future of U.S. competitiveness.

Keystone XL Sidelined

Broad support exists for unleashing America’s energy potential and decreasing our dependence on foreign providers.  Our domestic resources are plentiful and should be used to secure a robust and affordable energy future.  By tapping traditional energy sources and advancing renewable ones, we can create millions of jobs, boost economic growth, and lower costs.  This is the comprehensive national energy plan we need – not the picking of winners and losers by EPA decree.

A prime example of the President’s distorted priorities is his delayed approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, which has the potential to deliver an abundant supply of oil from Canada to U.S. refineries along the Gulf Coast.  The long-awaited project, which has undergone extensive environmental review by the State Department, would not only fortify America’s partnership with a reliable energy producer but also create thousands of jobs here at home.  President Obama remains resistant to green-lighting the pipeline’s construction – again requesting that the State Department determine Keystone’s impact on carbon dioxide emissions.  

Disputed Science

President Obama continues to defend his aggressive policies with assertions that global temperatures are on the rise – a notion challenged by scientists and scholars.  Recently released data show temperatures have stayed flat over the past 15 years despite rising carbon dioxide emissions.  The recorded temperatures were much lower than the predictions from climate models often cited by the President and global warming activists. 

I recently joined seven of my colleagues on the Environment and Public Works Committee in requesting copies of the climate data and analysis used to support the President’s statements.  In our letter to EPA Assistant Administrator Gina McCarthy, we expressed our concerns that the agency had not sufficiently responded to past requests for this information.  The President’s intent to pursue a costly regulatory rollout demands proof of sound science as well as transparency.  

I remain committed to working with my colleagues in Congress to rein in the Administration’s intrusive power grabs to push a radical climate agenda.  Unwarranted rules and restrictions are unfair to all Americans, who will bear the cost of higher energy prices.  In a difficult economic environment, the stakes are high for responsible policymaking – not impractical and misguided bureaucratic excess.