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Congressman Jason Smith

Representing the 8th District of Missouri

Capitol Report: The Clean Power Catastrophe

Aug 7, 2015
Weekly Capitol Report

The Obama Administration continues to hammer rural America with unnecessary, expensive regulations and rules. On Monday, the Obama Administration released the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan rule that calls for a massive reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. The plan has serious implications for Missouri, which gets 83 percent of its energy from coal power.

This Clean Power Plan rule is just the latest in a long list of regulations that illustrate how unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats do not understand southeast and southern Missouri. The president’s proposed rule is a power grab that exceeds the EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act.  These emission limits will raise the price of electricity, force the closure of coal plants in Missouri and cost people jobs. It is yet another example of this administration’s war on rural America.

This rule sets standards that will make coal power more expensive and hurt rural America. The vast majority of Missouri’s electricity is created by coal-fired power plants, making the utility affordable in our state compared to others that rely on different fuel sources for energy. This week, I toured the Sikeston Board of Municipal Utilities Power Plant, which made a $5 million update to their turbines for major efficiency improvements. Shutting down coal plants like these in Missouri and across the nation, would mean higher electricity costs and make it harder for folks who rely on cheap, reliable energy to make ends meet.

Many questions have arisen about the legality of this new rule, one of the most costly ever created. I am not going to wait around while the Obama administration and the EPA drive up electricity costs for Missouri families and force layoffs. In June, with my support, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Ratepayer Protection Act which would ensure that states do not have to comply with the president’s Clean Power Plan until it is proven legal.

Since I was first elected, I have taken action to protect families and job creators in southeast and southern Missouri. I have introduced a bill called the SCRUB Act to weed out inefficient, ineffective regulations, and I am pushing to bring it for a vote. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill I cosponsored, the REINS Act, which would require rules proposed by agencies, like the EPA, to be approved by Congress before implementation. I also have cosponsored the Stop EPA Overregulation of Rural Americans Act which would repeal the EPA’s most recent rule for new residential wood heaters that disproportionately hurts folks in rural communities, and the Regulatory Accountability Act that would ensure agencies adopt the least costly alternative for a regulation.  There is much more to do, but I am staying on top of this administration and working to hold them accountable.

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