Sens. Barrasso, Heitkamp: New EPA Rules Will Cost Jobs

Image: Sens. Barrasso, Heitkamp: New EPA Rules Will Cost Jobs Sen. John Barrasso, left, and Senator Heidi Heitkamp.

Tuesday, 03 Jun 2014 06:47 AM

By Elliot Jager

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New Environmental Protection Agency rules announced by President Barack Obama on Monday will cut jobs and undermine the economies of energy producing states, U.S. Sens. John Barrasso and Heidi Heitkamp wrote in a commentary in The Wall Street Journal.

Barrasso, a Wyoming Republican, and Heitkamp, a North Dakota Democrat, said that the new rules would deliver "minimal environmental benefits" using "extreme and expensive regulations" that amount to "a national energy tax."

The "timing of this effort could hardly be worse for the struggling U.S. economy," the senators wrote. "We learned just last week that the economy is shrinking for the first time since 2011...These excessive new regulations will likely force power plants to close, putting Americans out of work. "

Hundreds of thousands of jobs could be lost by closing coal-fired power plants, the senators wrote, citing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The higher the portion of renewable fuels, the higher the cost of electricity – by an average of 30 percent, the senators said.

If states do not meet the guidelines, the EPA would have the authority to compel them to do so, according to the senators.

At the same time, the U.S. share of carbon-dioxide emissions has been steadily declining for the past 10 years. In contrast, China's emissions have jumped by 173 percent from 1998 to 2011, the senators wrote.

Barrasso and Heitkamp would like Obama and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to visit Wyoming and North Dakota to see first-hand the impact their proposed policies would have "on jobs, families and communities."

"The president has challenged the world and every American to spend more and regulate more to combat climate change. We think that it's a debate worth engaging in and that the president should bring his proposal to Congress. Our constituents, at a minimum, deserve this consideration," the senators wrote.

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