It’s disappointing that the Obama administration and the Environmental Protection Agency continue to enforce a “my way or the highway” approach to environmental regulations.
For decades, the EPA has successfully cleaned up our air and streams without slowing down the economy. Now, at the worst possible time, the EPA is advancing an extreme agenda that threatens millions of jobs across America.
This agenda was eloquently laid out by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson in an op-ed last week blasting Republicans for fighting for jobs and economic growth.
Contrary to what Jackson claims, regulations are destroying jobs.
In June, American Electric Power announced it will be forced to cut jobs and decrease production to comply with a series of regulations proposed by the EPA that would affect coal-fueled power plants.
The National Economic Research Associates estimates four major regulations affecting coal-fueled power plants will destroy on average 183,000 jobs annually and cause electricity prices to skyrocket in many parts of the country.
Dozens of 404 permits are being held in limbo in an “enhanced coordination” process that the EPA has been using to purposefully delay investment, action that prompted the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to rule that the agency has been illegally overstepping its bounds.
The list goes on and on.
While Jackson stays in Washington, D.C., meeting with environmentalists, I meet with coal miners, factory workers and business leaders who worry that their next stop will be the unemployment line. Americans from West Virginia to Wyoming should not have to choose between fresh air and a job — we can keep our environment clean without extreme regulations with unachievable compliance dates.
Why won’t the EPA meet us halfway?
Republicans are fighting for an all-of-the-above energy solution that balances our expanding energy needs with our desire for environmental conservation.
For example, I have supported investing in technologies to make the use of coal cleaner, such as carbon sequestration and use of clean coal-to-liquids technology that would have the added benefit of making us less dependent on foreign sources of energy. I have fought for these clean-coal technologies while also supporting investments in renewable resources such as wind and solar.
In her opinion piece, Jackson refers to Republican legislative efforts to “undermine the Environmental Protection Agency.”
I was able to get an amendment passed by the House that mandates the EPA consider jobs and economic activity when making decisions.
It doesn’t force the EPA to make one decision or another; it simply says we need to take a hard look at both the environmental and economic consequences of agency actions.
Jackson may see this as usurping her power, but I see it as common sense.
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., takes a selfie with his cut-out head during the Hoops for Youth 16th annual charity basketball game held at George Washington University's Smith Center, September 8, 2014. The members of Congress team beat the lobbyist team 46-40. Buy photo here.