Jun
26
2013

PACE Issues Statement on President’s Climate Announcement

Following the President’s major announcement on climate action and energy issues, PACE issued the following statement. The announcement coincided with a visit by PACE Executive Director Lance Brown to the Powder River Basin to visit coal-mining operations.

Today, I am near Gillette, Wyoming, to tour Rawhide Mine, one of the most productive coal mines in the Powder River Basin. From this region comes 40% of the coal that Americans use to power their homes and businesses and to fuel the engine of our economy. For decades, mines like these and others like them in places like West Virginia, Kentucky, Illinois, and Alabama have provided a source of highly affordable, nearly perfectly reliable energy. This has allowed American manufacturing to compete successfully around the world and offered families the reassurance that modern life is but a flip of the light switch away.

On the other side of the nation today, President Obama has announced the latest offensive in the war to end the era of affordable, reliable power.

In a major announcement earlier, the president made clear that he would use the various arms of the federal government to end the use of coal as we know it. Through the rulemaking of the Environmental Protection Agency, the president announced he would tighten the application of the Clean Air Act, effectively making it impossible to build a new coal-fired power plant and threatening to further endanger those operating today. Under the auspices of the Department of Energy, he will further his goal of replacing highly reliable sources of electricity with less dependable sources such as solar and wind.

Environmental interests no doubt will applaud this announcement as a victory. Indeed, for them, those who have argued that climate action is necessary at any price and who encouraged the president to this latest action, it is a victory. For the rest of America, such action means only higher energy prices, more job losses, less reliability, and a manufacturing sector that could very well lose one of the few competitive edges it has left. Through these actions, the president has chosen to placate and environmental industry that believes inexpensive energy is morally wrong, instead of listening to the clear message from America’s families and businesses that affordable energy is the lifeblood of the American dream. He has chosen a temporary political victory over the long-term health of the American economy.

The men and women to deliver America’s energy, including those I met today in Wyoming, are rightfully worried that federal action will endanger their jobs. So are those who labor in energy-intensive industries. Families are concerned that energy costs, already a significant portion of their expenses, will rise. Manufacturers, struggling to remain competitive in this very difficult economy, or fearful that America will follow in the footsteps of nations like Germany, which have inflated the price of electricity through climate action and made power less dependable. The concerns of all of these groups are well-founded. By attempting to solve a global policy concern through domestic action, the president’s announcement today places us on a trajectory to realize all of those fears.

It is time for Americans to send a clear message to their elected leaders: by making energy more expensive and less available, the administration is making America less secure.