Column by U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell
“I want you to look me in the eyes,” President Biden told a young woman during his 2020 presidential campaign. “I guarantee you. We’re going to end fossil fuel.”
Well, the President is making good on that promise with yet another assault in his War on Affordable Energy. The Biden Administration announced new regulations in May that will further cripple America’s domestic energy production, threaten our national security, and squeeze workers and job creators in Middle America.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) latest rule will resurrect devastating emissions standards that liberals have spent more than a decade trying to drop on folks in Kentucky and the rest of coal country. The measure revives the Obama Administration’s so-called ‘Clean Power Plan’ with the intention of drastically reducing coal-fired power plants. In fact, the new requirements would require a whopping 60 percent of power plants in our country to either slash their greenhouse gas emissions by 90 percent over the next decade or shut down.
By imposing unworkable deadlines and requiring unproven technologies that are not commercially available, the Biden Administration’s message to Kentucky’s power plants and the rest of coal country is clear: shut down.
“This could rein in Kentucky’s ability to generate further economic development moving forward,” said one Kentucky energy producer.
Jim Matheson of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association warned: This new rule would “force critical, always available power plants into early retirement.”
It “will further strain America’s electric grid and undermine decades of work to reliably keep the lights on across the nation,” he went on.
This latest version of the ‘Clean Power Plan’ comes at a time when energy usage is up 73 percent over the past four decades and widespread power outages continue to surge. Power plants that fail to meet the EPA’s stringent new requirements will be forced to shut down, further threatening the reliability of our power grids.
For two years, President Biden has given liberal activists the green light to push a radical climate agenda that only compounds the pain of Washington Democrats’ inflation. Lower-income ratepayers in particular will see their energy bills creep up as a result of these new mandates. And Eastern Kentucky, the heart of our coal country, could see more plants close and even more jobs lost.
By hollowing out production of affordable and reliable American energy, the Biden EPA’s new rule will threaten our energy security. Rather than unleash our own abundant reserves, Washington Democrats would apparently prefer to lean even further on our adversaries for critical supply chains.
Sadly, this is a story Kentuckians know all too well. For eight years under the Obama Administration, they watched the “War on Coal,” kill jobs and cripple communities across Appalachia. In his eight years in office, President Obama helped put more than 10,000 Kentucky miners out of work. Coal employment declined to levels we haven’t seen since the 1800s. And the damage is still being felt to this day. Now President Biden is picking up where he and President Obama left off. The Obama-Biden War on Coal has come in many different forms, but the same basic disdain for Middle America keeps showing its face.
Given President Biden’s track record on executive overreach, it should come as no surprise that the Supreme Court struck down a similar EPA mandate only a year ago. Last April, the Court made it clear that it’s Congress that gets to create energy policy, not unelected bureaucrats. But the Biden Administration’s climate activists are trying to ram this policy through again anyway. So I’m proud to stand with my Republican colleague, Senator Shelly Moore Capito of West Virginia, who is leading the charge in Congress against this punitive measure.
Washington Democrats’ latest power grab from the EPA is a recipe for soaring energy prices, electricity blackouts, and less national security. Working Americans cannot afford it — and Kentuckians least of all.
Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, is the Senate Republican Leader.