We passed legislation to stop the administration from imposing costly regulation of greenhouse-gas emissions. We advanced bills to require the administration to reissue rules aimed at industrial boilers, cement manufacturers, and power plants because their initial proposals were too expensive and unrealistic. And we approved legislation creating a new state-based regulatory framework for coal ash that avoids Washington’s one-size-fits-all rule.
Our legislation is about protecting jobs, and it’s also about creating new ones as we gain access to more secure energy supplies. We voted to streamline EPA’s role in the permitting process for energy exploration in Alaska, which has been stymied by endless appeals and delays from environmental groups. If we can cut through the red tape, development of Alaska’s arctic waters alone could produce up to 1 million barrels of domestic oil production per day and create more than 50,000 American jobs.
Similarly, we passed legislation — not once but twice — calling on the Obama administration to end the uncertainty surrounding the Keystone XL pipeline expansion, another project that would create tens of thousands of jobs and carry more than 1 million barrels of oil per day from our neighbors in Canada.
Some Democrats in Washington and their allies in the environmental lobby have made outlandish charges, saying our efforts were extreme or would harm the environment. This is yet another misreading. In reality, all of these measures have attracted bipartisan congressional support because they call for a balanced approach to environmental regulation — an inconvenient truth for the environmental lobbyists standing against our bipartisan coalition.
Overly aggressive and costly regulations will always slow economic growth and stall job creation. But what’s clear today is that the current economic downturn and weakness is deeper and more prolonged than the Obama economic team predicted — another miscalculation that may have played into the decision to unleash these rules when our economy could afford them least. Yet even when the dire economic situation became clear, the regulatory juggernaut did not cease.
This monument of misreadings stands today. It’s why our bipartisan efforts to find common ground and protect jobs will continue.
— Rep. Fred Upton is chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.