Despite Vice President Joe Biden’s touting of the Obama administration’s record on manufacturing in Ohio on Thursday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is moving to cripple the energy business in the state, Rep. Bill Johnson told Newsmax TV.
“The EPA is actually trying to shut down steel manufacturing in America,” the Ohio Republican said.
New regulations due soon could effectively close the nation’s only two makers of manganese ferroalloy, a critical component in steel manufacturing, Johnson said. One plant is in Marietta, Ohio; the other, in Letart, W. Va.
“Their analysis is both technically and scientifically flawed,” Johnson said of the EPA. “The remediation and compliance requirements – to put a dome over those facilities – is economically infeasible.
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“They’ll shut down,” he added. “We’ll lose 500-plus jobs and America will have to buy manganese from our competitors, like China.”
“That’s a national security issue — and it’s just another example of how the rhetoric coming out of the White House … says one thing, and their actions and policies are doing something different.”
In his Thursday stop at M-7 Technologies, which conducts high-tech manufacturing as well as research and development, Biden criticized Republican Mitt Romney on his record at Bain Capital Management and highlighted the White House’s focus on reviving the manufacturing industry.
But any improved manufacturing in Ohio is not occurring because of the administration, Johnson told Newsmax. He noted how increased natural gas production at the Marcellus and Utica shale formations in the state cut domestic oil productions on federal lands by 11 percent last year.
“The growth is occurring in spite of the president and vice president and their policies, not because of them,” Johnson said.
He also noted how the EPA also is trying to increase regulation of “fracking” – pumping millions of gallons of water, toxic chemicals, and sand into wells to free up oil and gas far below ground – despite Ohio having one of the best safety records on fracking since 1965. The state even has support from EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, he said.
“So why does the federal EPA need to insert itself into a process that’s working very well already?” Johnson asked.
He also noted how Ohio residents get 87 percent of their energy from coal — and how federal regulations threaten the state’s underground coal-mining industry by reducing production in half with as many as 27,000 coal industry and related jobs lost. “It’s just absolutely irresponsible.”
Americans are paying $300 more on average for energy per year now than when Obama became president, said Johnson. He called on the EPA, the Interior Department and other regulatory agencies to become “partners in progress” with energy companies to address issues.
“I’m all for common-sense regulations, but ‘no’ should not be the final answer for any of these industries,” Johnson said. “That’s not what the American people expect. That’s not what the American people deserve.”
As for the November election, Johnson said he’s going to work to deliver Ohio, a crucial swing state, to Romney. Johnson faces a rematch in his seat in the south east of the state with former Democratic Congressman Charlie Wilson, whom he defeated two years ago.
“We’re going to see the debate turn to jobs and the economy,” Johnson said. “That’s what the people along the Ohio River think is important. They’re also very upset about the uncertainty that’s associated with the health-care law.”
Johnson noted how Wilson did not contest rewritten regulations that threatened the state’s coal industry and how he “voted 98.2 percent of the time for the big-government, big-spending agenda of Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama.”
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