Weekly Columns

Fans and air conditioners will be in high gear once the summer heat hits, but turning them on costs money for families. Unfortunately, these costs are going up year-round because of a power plant crack down proposed by the Obama administration. 

The President’s plan will require states to restrict the amount of carbon emissions from existing power plants and change how electricity is generated.  These heavy-handed rules will hit Arkansas extremely hard. In fact, the EPA is targeting Arkansas for cuts that will be stricter than 44 other states. 

Arkansas uses a wide range of energy sources, including nuclear, hydropower, natural gas, and coal to produce our electricity. Coal is a reliable and affordable source of energy, and today’s coal power plants are much cleaner than they were a generation ago. However, the new EPA mandates will force electricity prices to soar. The President himself acknowledged that his schemes will make the cost of electricity ‘necessarily sky-rocket.’ 

I’m concerned with this plan because I believe the executive branch is overreaching its authority. The President is bypassing the “checks and balances” of Congress and imposing a harmful energy policy similar to what Congress already rejected. Once again, Washington is trying to control actions across the country, with no concern for the pain it will cause.  

Unfortunately, that pain falls hardest on low-income families and seniors living on a fixed-income who will be forced to pay more for electricity and many other essential needs. These news rules will drive industry overseas, hurting American workers, and creating foreign factories that emit far more than we would. 

While Arkansans and all Americans will be forced to comply with these burdens, globally, little will change. We’ve seen a drop in carbon emissions in our country since 2000 but those in China, India and other developing countries continue growing. China’s carbon emissions increased by 173 percent from 1998 to 2011 and the emissions in India stand to surpass China’s in the coming years. 

We need a commonsense energy plan that has the support of the American people. I support using all of our natural resources in all-of-the-above energy mix that includes renewables and reliable sources like coal, nuclear, and natural gas. With better efficiency and new technology, we can reduce emissions and keep manufacturing here. 

Washington should never put hard working families in a position where they have to decide between paying for food and paying their energy bill. I believe there are better solutions than fewer jobs, higher prices, and more government; and I am urging the President to reconsider this proposal.