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Congressional Update and Opinion From Rep. Scott Tipton

January 28th, 2016

Filed under Featured, Opinion

Rep.Scott Tipton in Hotchkiss in 2011

Rep.Scott Tipton in Hotchkiss in 2011

Congressional Update and Opinion From Rep. Scott Tipton

I recently attended my sixth State of the Union Address as a Member of Congress. I was hoping this year, in the President’s final address, to hear him speak of some opportunities for us to work together to address issues that truly affect Colorado and the rest of the country. He did speak to overreaching regulations, which we agree on. However, the majority of his speech was more ideologically driven rhetoric that has regrettably defined the President’s go-it-alone approach.

That propensity to run roughshod over the people’s representatives, and the Constitution, is at the core of his legacy, and I was thinking back to a number of examples over the years. One great example of that overreach that will hurt Colorado’s economy, families and local communities is the EPA’s so-called “Clean Power” regulations, imposed by bureaucrats in the name of addressing climate change.

As is often the case with cookie-cutter solutions launched by Washington bureaucrats -most of whom have likely never set foot in the Western U.S.- these regulations not only overreach the authority of the Executive Branch, they are at odds with the realities of both economics and global energy policy. While many would wish it were not so, it is a fact that responsibly developed traditional energy resources provide 82 percent of the global energy supply, with coal powering the most electricity of any fuel. Yet the President, just last week doubled-down on his anti-coal agenda, shutting down new leasing for coal extraction on public lands. This will have further severe impacts on America’s ability to produce the coal needed to meet our nation’s electricity needs.

I am a strong supporter of alternative energy sources and an all-of-the-above American energy strategy. Colorado companies are industry leaders in solar and wind power, as well as abundant producers in oil, natural gas, coal and hydropower. Yet when it comes to the EPA carbon regulations, their single-minded political focus on climate change limits energy policy to whatever fits their current ideological agenda.

Going back to my days as a small business owner, and now as a Member of Congress, I have seen the disregard that EPA bureaucrats have exhibited for families in communities in the West. And while the callous and tardy response to the Gold King Mine spill in Southwest Colorado was emblematic, the effects of the carbon rules will be far more widespread and damaging.

A wide range of studies have shown that this ill-considered attempt to basically take over the state electric systems will make electricity far less affordable, jeopardize the reliability of the grid, and will without question have devastating economic consequences in mining states such as Colorado. We all know the effect on household budgets with even a moderate electricity rate increase, and this is particularly hard on working families and seniors on fixed incomes.

Here are some facts that have come across my desk in recent months.

The carbon regulations will be massively expensive for the electric power sector, with compliance costs of more than $360 billion. These and other costs will result in double digit spikes in electricity rates in all but seven states. EPA’s proposal was projected to cause double-digit electricity rate increases in at least 40 states, and a recent study by the global firm NERA Economic Consulting showed that here in Colorado, we could see electricity price spikes as high as 31 percent with increases in peak years that could reach 37 percent.

Scientists reported that the President’s policies would have just about zero impact on climate change. Estimates are a drop in global temperatures of 2/100ths of a degree. Specifically, it will reduce carbon dioxide concentration by 5 percent. That’s one half of one percent. In the U.S., CO2 emissions are down because of responsible energy development and usage while the world’s biggest polluters, such as China and India, continue irresponsible and reckless practices virtually unabated.

Only in Washington could a plan be concocted that will cause massive disruption in a major American industry, cost jobs, hurt families and small business and spike electricity prices – all to accomplish virtually nothing positive for the environment. This is the triumph of ideology over conversation and common sense, and it’s my hope that next year’s State of the Union Address will be focused on how we can all work to shape America’s future together, and put an end to government by regulatory fiat.

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