Bradley Byrne: Cutting regulations, lowering power bills

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The summer months in southwest Alabama can be especially grueling with temperatures resting in the 90s. If your family is like mine, summer also means higher power bills. Well, those power bills might be getting even more expensive without anything to do with the weather.

In the past few years the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a record number of regulations. They run the gambit from costly regulations on coal power plants to attempts to regulate mud puddles on family farms to policies changing what type of light bulbs Americans can use in their home.

The new regulations aren’t cheap, and they will hit the wallets of working Americans. Studies found that the EPA’s attempt to regulate CO2 emissions from existing fossil-fuel power plants would cost more than $366 billion. Even worse, families in more than 40 states, including Alabama, would see their power bills rise by double digits.

It doesn’t stop there. The EPA’s attempt to lower the ozone standard would result in the most expensive rule it has ever proposed. If put into effect, the National Association of Manufacturers contends, the regulation could slash family budgets by $830 per year, reduce our gross domestic product by $1.7 trillion, and cost our economy 1.4 million jobs.

Being from along the Gulf Coast, we know how important it is have clean air and water, but I don’t think the American people need costly mandates and federal requirements in order to be good stewards of our land. We should always consider the effect such regulations would have on hardworking families and the budgets of small businesses.

In Congress, I have made it a priority to focus on solutions that help lower the costs of energy and fight back against the activist EPA. A few weeks ago, the House passed H.R. 2402, the Ratepayer Protection Act. This common-sense legislation would allow states to opt-out of implementing the EPA’s rule on greenhouse gas emissions if they found the rule would have an adverse effect on families in their state.

The House is also using the appropriations process to rein in the EPA. Since Republicans took control of the House in 2010, the EPA has been cut by about 15 percent, but I think we can make even more cuts. This year’s funding bill for the EPA, being debated in the House this week, is $1.17 billion less than President Obama requested.

The funding bill also includes provisions to prevent the EPA from moving forward with many of its regulations. Analysts say that by halting these new regulations, our legislation will save nearly 300,000 jobs related to the energy sector. Our bill also rejects efforts to place more requirements and red tape on new energy projects.

Congress and the legislative branch aren’t the only ones fighting back against the EPA’s overreach. A few weeks ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the EPA in a major court decision. In the ruling, the court said that the EPA has to consider the economic impact when issuing new regulations. It was a major victory for those of us who think regulations are holding back our economy.

If we are to accomplish a true “all-of-the-above” approach to energy production, then we must stop senseless regulations and costly red tape. Affordable energy is a key component to turning our economy around and putting people back to work. That should be the ultimate focus of Congress, and that will remain my focus as I serve as your voice in Washington.

Bradley Byrne is a member of the U.S. Congress representing Alabama’s 1st Congressional District.

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3 Comments

  1. Ron Leighton on

    I agree that costs should be contained. Any ideas on getting the Alabama Public Service Commission to do a better job of monitoring Alabama Power? Seems like they just go along with anything Alabama Power says.

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