McConnell: EPA Regulations Devastating to Jobs
By Robert Steurer
WASHINGTON DC - U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor Wednesday regarding the EPA’s ‘Utility MACT’ regulation that stifles job creation and threatens the livelihoods of many Americans:
“It’s become pretty clear over the past few months that President Obama now views his job as the deflector-in-chief.
“No longer content to lay all the nation’s problems at the feet of his predecessor, he’s taken to creating controversies out of whole cloth.
“And whether it’s a manufactured fight over student loan rates or the so-called War on Women, the goal is as clear: get reporters to focus on these things, and maybe the rest of the country will too.
“Get them to focus on anything other than the President’s own failure to turn the economy around, in other words, and maybe he can squeak by without folks noticing it. That’s the plan, at least, and, frankly, it couldn’t reflect a more misguided view of the American people.
“They know who’s been in charge the past three and a half years. And the fact that the President’s had a tough job to do doesn’t mean he gets a pass on how he’s handled it. Or on the solutions he proposed.
“Most Americans don’t like either one of the President’s two signature pieces of legislation — Obamacare or the Stimulus. They’re not particularly thrilled about seeing America’s credit rating downgraded for the first time ever. They’re scared to death about a $16 trillion debt, trillion dollar deficits, and chronic joblessness. And many, including myself, are deeply concerned about this administration’s thuggish attempts to shut its critics right out of the political process.
“These are the kinds of things Americans have been telling us for three years they’re worried about. And we’re not about to be drawn into some rabbit hole so the President doesn’t have to talk about them.
“We’re going to stay focused on all these things — not because of some political advantage, but because Americans demand it. So the President can come up with the excuse du jour. But we’re going to talk about jobs. We’re going to talk about the deficits and debt. We’ll talk about the Constitution.
“And when it comes to jobs, let’s be clear: this administration has been engaged in a war on private sector jobs, and in many cases it’s used federal agencies and a heavy handed regulatory process to wage it largely out of view. We got a vivid confirmation of this when an EPA official was caught comparing the EPA’s enforcement approach to the Roman use of crucifixion. Brutalize a few offenders, he said, and the rest will be scared into submission.
“Call me naïve, but I think most Americans think the government should be working for them—not against them. I think most Americans think the federal government should be working to create the conditions for Americans to prosper, not looking for any opportunities to undercut free enterprise.
“Yet that’s what we see — an administration that always seems to assume the worst of the private sector — and whose policies are aimed at undermining it. And nowhere is that more clear than at the EPA.
“And that’s why I support Senator Inhofe’s ongoing efforts, including a vote today to push back on the EPA, which has become one of the lead culprits in this administration’s war on American jobs.
“Senator Inhofe is focusing on just one regulation out of many that are crushing businesses across the country — the so-called ‘Utility-MACT’ — which would cost American companies billions in upgrades — but their competitors overseas nothing.
“This regulation would expand the already massive powers given to the EPA by increasing red tape and costing the taxpayer over $10 billion dollars each year. In Kentucky alone, it threatens the jobs of over 1,400 people working in aluminum smelter plants as well as approximately 18,000 coal miners, not to mention those engaged in industries that support these jobs.
“Kentucky Power, operator of the only coal-burning power plant in the state, recently conceded defeat in this fight after the EPA demanded upgrades to its plant at a cost of nearly $1 billion, raising the typical residential customer’s monthly electric bill by a whopping 30 percent.
“At that price, it’s no wonder the plant found the new regulations unworkable. The EPA may have won this battle, but the real losers are the more than 170,000 homes and businesses spread out amongst 20 eastern Kentucky counties that depend on the Kentucky Power plant for energy.
“The proponents of the Utility MACT say it’s needed to improve air quality. What they can’t tell you is what those benefits would be, or the effect of leaving the plants in their current condition.
“Look: we all support clean air, but if we waved through every regulation that promised to improve air quality without regard for its actual impact, we wouldn’t be able to produce anything in this country.
“What we do know is a substantial amount of the electricity we produce in this country comes from coal, and this new regulation would devastate the jobs that depend on this cheap, abundant resource.
“This is just one battle in the administration’s war on jobs, but it has devastating consequences for real people and real families in my state and in many others. The administration’s nonchalant attitude about these people is appalling, but this is precisely the danger of having unelected bureaucrats in Washington playing with the livelihoods of Americans as if they’re nothing more than pieces on a chessboard.
“The media may continue to chase whatever issue the President and his campaign decides to fabricate from day to day, but these are the faces behind this president’s devastating economic politics. And that’s why it’s a story the President would rather the media ignored. Well, Republicans aren’t going to ignore it. We’re going to keep talking about this President’s policies. And so I commend Senator Inhofe for keeping us focused on this particular policy that’s devastating so many Americans.”