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Congressman John Ratcliffe

Representing the 4th District of Texas

‘Clean Power Plan’ is bad news for Texas ratepayers

November 9, 2015
In The News
By John Ratcliffe
Special to the Herald Democrat

Access to affordable and reliable electricity is about more than being able to turn on your lights when you get home from work. We need it to power our schools, supermarkets, hospitals, offices, manufacturing plants and airports. But like all things in life, electricity isn’t free. In fact, almost half of Texas’ population spends over 15% of their annual household budget on energy costs alone according to data on residential energy consumption patterns. To stand up for the middle class, I have an obligation to fight for policies that keep energy affordable.

Unfortunately, almost every day we are blindsided with regulations that disrupt our lives and impact our ability to provide for our families. This is more visible than ever with the Administration’s newest “Clean Power Plan.” While you might hear media reports about the noble intent of these regulations, don’t let misleading talking points fool you. The reality is that these regulations will make life more difficult for you and your family.

But President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) doesn’t look at everyday Americans when deciding policy. Instead it clings to extreme ideological views. The so-called “Clean Power Plan” is yet another case of unelected bureaucrats writing rules which will have devastating effects on hard-working Americans.

If we don’t fight back against these rules, approximately 33% of all coal-fired power plants – enough electricity for 60 million homes – stand to close according to EPA estimates. Texas is the 6th largest producer of coal in the nation, and relies on coal for about one third of the state’s electricity portfolio according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The National Mining Association estimates there are 41,000 Texans working in the coal industry, if these plants are forced to shutter operations they all could lose their jobs while being forced to pay more to keep the lights on at home. Making matters worse, the regulations set to be levied on Texas are 20% more stringent than the target national average.

This isn’t government working for the people. It’s government getting in the way.

One study produced by energy economist Eugene Trisko projected that the proposed rules would cause “double-digit electricity rate increases” in 43 states, with a total national cost that could reach $479 billion over 15 years. That was the EPA’s initial proposal, and the regulations finalized in August may be even worse.

Some argue that these costs should be born for the “greater good,” in hopes of significantly cutting CO2 emissions, but the facts say otherwise. It is estimated by the Cato Institute that these regulations would only reduce the global temperature 0.02 degree Celsius. Why would the Administration force Americans to sacrifice so much when even the most optimistic projections anticipate a rounding error in return?

President Obama and his EPA should stop pushing politically-motivated regulations that result in higher electricity prices, widespread loss of jobs, and lower take home pay. The American people have suffered enough.

The legislation I have introduced would nullify these actions and prevent the EPA from ever issuing similar regulations again. At the end of the day, it is my job as an elected official to do what is in the best interest of the American people. I look forward to growing this coalition as we collectively stand up to a reckless president and out-of-control executive branch.

Rep. John Ratcliffe represents Texas’ 4th congressional district, which includes Grayson and Fannin counties among others.