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Congressman Jason Smith

Representing the 8th District of Missouri

Capitol Report: Working to Lower Home Heating Costs

Mar 7, 2014
Weekly Capitol Report

In 2008, in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, President Obama warned Americans that under his policies for energy, “electricity rates will necessarily skyrocket.” President Obama’s proclamation is coming true. Millions of Americans, including families in our Eighth District, are suffering from one of the coldest winters in recent memory – and in some cases, the most expensive. This week the House of Representatives took action to help families and individuals who are struggling with high heating costs this winter.

About half of American households heat their homes with natural gas. If this includes your family, you know that prices are up by as much as 45% this year. This week the House passed the Responsibly and Professionally Invigorating Development (RAPID) Act to expedite federal approval of construction projects, including energy and natural gas infrastructure. In some cases the federal permitting and environmental regulations can add 5 to 7 years to the process for licensing and finally constructing new power plants. The RAPID Act will help cut through the red tape so new power plants can be built more quickly and families can see lower utility costs.

Nearly 84% of our congressional district relies on coal-fired power plants to generate the power they need to heat their homes and businesses. Proposed coal regulations threaten to further increase utility costs for families and individuals who rely on power generated from burning coal. This week the House passed the Electricity Security and Affordability Act to protect coal-fired power plants from excessive EPA regulations.

Folks in Missouri who rely on propane to heat their homes are seeing heating bills more than triple in cost. In January I wrote a letter to the Federal Trade Commission asking for a full review of the conditions that have led to propane cost spikes. Shortages in the supply of propane and the resulting cost spikes are still causing a real hardship for families, farmers, rural school districts, senior citizens on fixed incomes and small business owners who rely on propane to heat their homes and businesses. Additionally, the House took action this week by passing the Home Heating Emergency Assistance Through Transportation Act of 2014 to make it easier to transport propane to areas of the country experiencing a shortage.

The winter of 2013-2014 has been one of the coldest in recent memory. Across the country and right here in our Eighth Congressional District, communities have experienced record low temperatures and high amounts of snow and ice. To make matters worse, Washington bureaucrats keep piling on new regulations that increase home heating costs. Just this year the EPA announced proposed regulations on wood-burning stoves that many people in our district rely on for cheap and effective heat. I plan to fight this intrusive and ineffective new regulation. The House of Representatives remains committed to reducing energy costs for families and individuals who are struggling to make ends meet.