Obama Coal Regulations Misunderstand Rural America

On Friday, the Obama Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it would, for the first time in history, propose regulations that would limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, including requiring coal-burning plants to capture roughly 40 percent of carbon dioxide emissions. This is the first major action from the Administration since it indicated that it would begin rolling out a climate-change agenda circumventing Congress a few short weeks ago. At that time, a senior environmental advisor to the President was quoted advocating for a “war on coal” that would constitute a flurry of new regulations in an attempt to burden the industry to such a point that it was no longer a viable option.

President Obama needs to leave Washington and travel to rural America to understand what the effect of these laws will be on places like Arkansas’ First District before taking unilateral action. Today, roughly 50% of Arkansas homes are powered by coal energy. This is a power source that provides affordable heating and power for Arkansans, especially those in rural parts of the state.

By propagating new regulations like the one President Obama announced on Friday, he misunderstands who will truly bear the heavy burden of his actions. It is not, in fact, the coal companies he aims to penalize with regulations. It will be the hard-working families of rural America who live on a modest income and will see dramatic rises in home heating and energy costs under these new regulations. These people do not live in the theoretical world of a “war on coal” – they live in a reality where every dollar matters, and rising energy costs coupled with already expensive consumer products and gasoline will have a real impact on family budgets.

Real leadership from the President would be promoting an all-of-the-above energy strategy that utilizes the resources we have today while researching and developing new sources of energy for use in the future. I have advocated for an approach that uses every tool at our disposal, driving down energy costs and reducing our independence on foreign states to power our homes and vehicles who do not like us. This is just Arkansas common sense. I will continue fighting for Arkansas families to make sure we put in place a comprehensive energy strategy that works for everyday Americans without penalizing those who are struggling just to get by.

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