Congress adjourned this week, and members will be back in their home states through the November election. But even while they are back home — and legislation is on hold on Capitol Hill — it is important that constituents continue to communicate our staunch opposition to a federal renewable energy standard (RES) and its potentially detrimental impact on the economy.
Last week, Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Sam Brownback (R-KS) introduced RES legislation in the Senate despite the lack of broad support for the economically irresponsible measure. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell expressed his concerns for the proposal: “Sen. McConnell does not support an electricity rate hike, particularly in the middle of a recession. He wasn’t for the president’s job-killing national energy tax, and he’s not for this utility rate tax hike on Kentuckians either,” stated a spokesman.
The effects of the proposal will be widespread. A recent Heritage Foundation analysis found that a “22.5 percent RES by 2025 would cause household electricity prices to jump 36 percent, and industry prices would rise by 60 percent by 2035. There would be 1 million fewer people working on average with the RES in effect. And as the mandated level of renewable use rises over time, so do the losses imposed on the economy. Summing up the impact for 2012 to 2035 yields a total loss of $5.2 trillion in GDP.”
Mississippi is one of the many states that could be dramatically affected by the pending energy laws and regulations. On Sept. 27, I hosted a town hall meeting in Starkville to discuss energy issues with Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS) and a panel of energy experts. I encourage others who are just as concerned about these proposals to attend similar town halls, and voice concerns to their members of Congress. We must ensure that plans for a hidden “Energy Tax” do not go unnoticed through this election season.
It is also important to make our elected officials aware that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is stepping in to regulate the economy even though Congress has not explicitly instructed them to do so. The EPA’s consumer-crippling power grab will widely impact energy costs.
The most frightening among the EPA’s plans is their cutting of reliable and clean forms of energy like woody biomass, which will not be exempt by their Tailoring Rule, about which I recently wrote. The EPA’s newly seized and heavy-handed authority will have a very real impact on consumers who live in areas that do not have access to abundant solar or wind generation options.
After a failed attempt to block new climate change regulations from taking effect for two years, Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) stated, “It’s disappointing that Democrats again blocked bipartisan action to protect the American people from the backdoor national energy tax coming in the form of new job-killing carbon regulations from EPA.”
Additionally, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) of the Senate’s Committee on Environment and Public Works released a report this week showing that almost 800,000 jobs are at risk because of the EPA’s overzealous regulations. Sen. Inhofe released a statement saying, in part, “EPA will make consumers pay more for electricity, shut down the local factory, and give Chinese firms a decisive advantage over America’s manufacturers, which are struggling to meet the agency’s bureaucratic mandates.”
Do you know where your member of Congress stands on these energy policies? It is imperative that we take the time to make our voices heard and tell members of Congress not to adopt policies that will harm the hard-working families that elect them.
Lance Brown is the Executive Director of PACE.