U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis addressed a group of energy industry executives and representatives Wednesday in Tampa.
2015 Gulf Coast Energy Forum attendees spent the better part of the morning and afternoon railing against the Obama administration’s EPA and its new proposed regulations to rein in coal-fired power plants before the fifth-term Republican congressman arrived to give the closing remarks.
His message: I’m with you.
“While we should strive to protect our earth – God’s creation – that goal does not need to be achieved through harsh EPA regulations that increase every constituent’s cost of living” said Bilirakis. “Sadly the Obama administration’s proposed Clean Power Plan is a prime example of a harmful disconnect.”
Bilirakis, a member of the House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee, inveighed against the new proposed rules designed to reduce greenhouse gases and air pollution by requiring steep numerical decreases in harmful emissions.
“The plan sets unrealistic expectations for carbon dioxide and methane emissions that are already being significantly, and appropriately, curtailed,” said Bilirakis, who represents Florida’s 12th Congressional District. “The new requirements will likely lead to industry adjustments that will naturally lead to higher electricity costs for consumers.”
Contra the new federal regulations, Bilirakis pointed to two pieces of legislation passed by the House which await a hearing by the more Democratic-leaning Senate.
The “Ratepayer Protection Act” – HR 2042, passed by the House in June – was one remedy prescribed by Bilirakis, of which he was one of 67 co-sponsors.
Five of Alabama’s seven House delegates also cosigned the measure: Republicans Mo Brooks, Bradley Byrne, Martha Roby and Mike Rogers plus Democrat Terri Sewell.
The entire delegation voted in favor of the bill, which sailed to passage 247-180.
“The law allows for the completion of judicial review of any final rule before requiring states to comply with a costly rule,” the Tarpon Springs native explained. By passing the bill, “We are simply protecting families and businesses from significant electricity rate increases or reduced reliability when the rules are not on sound legal ground, or fail to take into account as consequences.”
Bilirakis also gestured towards the Architecture of Abundance Act, a multi-year iterative effort by Republicans on the Energy & Commerce Committee that the panel’s website describes as a replacement for “outdated policies rooted in the old ideas of energy scarcity.”
Bilirakis drew the approval of one lineman in the crowd who “raised the roof” as he vowed to stand fast against federal meddling in the energy industry.
“I promise to keep fighting tooth and nail in Washington, D.C. to make sure the harmful effects of this administration’s proposed rules are not realized.”