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Ind. Congresswoman: 'Get the Gov't Off My Back...Then We'll Create Jobs'

Matt Vespa
By Matt Vespa | January 17, 2014 | 11:28 AM EST

The war on coal continues and Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Indiana) is fighting back.  She's no newcomer to issues relating to the environment.  She was a journalist based in South Bend, Indiana - home of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish - in the 1980s and served on Indiana's environmental committee.   Yet, she's fighting against new Obama regulations on the coal industry, which she says will hurt jobs and economic growth.

In a conference call earlier Thursday, Rep. Walorski spoke about the fight ahead on this issue.  She recently wrote a letter to the EPA saying, "we are writing to request a sixty day extension of the comment period for the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed rule titled Standards of Performance for Greenhouse Gas Emissions from New Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units- wrote a letter 60 day extension on emission for new power plants."

The coal war hits home for Rep. Walorski since her home state of Indiana expects to see their energy costs go up 32% by 2023 due to these new regulations.  It's a state heavily invested in manufacturing and agriculture. She also said that for family farmers, small businesses, and even larger industries in Northern Indiana, "The #1 issue for them when it comes to job creation is: get the government off my back. If you just get the government to leave me alone, then we'll create jobs."

Right now, Indiana is in the top 5 states in terms of job retention and creation.  Why? Well, as Congresswoman Walorski aptly noted, "one of the largest leverage pieces we have is low utility prices."

Also, the Congresswoman noted that "given that nearly forty percent of electricity in the United States is generated by coal, it is especially important to carefully consider both the short- and long-term ramifications of this proposal.  In some states nearly ninety percent of electricity is coal-powered, so consumers could be especially hard-hit."

"We have already heard an outpouring of concern from constituents alarmed about this proposal's impact on energy affordability, job creation, and long-term economic growth.  Allowing stakeholders additional time to comment will ensure those wishing to share their views are able to do so and will enable the EPA to more fully consider public opinion."

The bipartisan letter had 70 co-signers, including six committee chairmen, one ranking member (Rep. Nick Rahall), and three Democrats.

She adamant insists that we're not in a post-coal era.  And educating her Congressional colleagues on the importance of energy in relation to job creation is one of her priorities.  Energy became an even more pressing issue during the polar vortex concerning heating bills and power grids, which in some cases, like in Texas; were struggling to keep up with demand.

This could possibly be due to the closure of coal plants in the Lone Star State. Regardless, higher electrical bills hurt American families and are just as damaging as a tax increase.

Rep. Walorski, who had to cut the Q&A session of the call short due to other meetings, said that they're going to keep pushing this issue and not allow new regulations to shut down coal.

Right now, she's pushing, along with her colleagues, HR 3826 (Electricity Security and Affordability Act) to help slow down the destructive rate of new anti-coal regulations, but knows they'll have to continue to be persistent in this fight to prevent this from falling by the wayside.

While Walorski admitted that she doesn't have any coal mines in her district, she knows that Obama's war on coal is an issue that affects everyone. Case in point, coal makes up over 20% of the revenue for the railroad industry.

Can you imagine the impact on American jobs if government decided to gut over twenty percent of this industry's business?

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