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Rolla Daily News (Column): U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt: EPA Regulations & Higher Energy Bills

December 08, 2014

As we sink into the cold winter months, poor families and young people in our state are looking at their energy bills and trying to ensure they can enjoy the holidays with their families without having to worry about making ends meet. We need energy policies that bring economic relief to these families and young individuals, not policies that hurt them. 

Taking advantage of our country’s most important energy resource - coal - will keep energy bills low. Missourians have historically relied on coal to power more than 80 percent of our electricity and, as a result, enjoyed below average electricity rates in 2012. Unfortunately, under the new Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) unprecedented “Clean Power Plan,” combined with several recent EPA power plant regulations, Missourians’ annual electric and gas utility bills would cost around $1,000 more in 2020 compared to 2012 – almost a 50 percent increase. 

Clearly, the EPA failed to take into account the economic impact this policy will have on the most vulnerable people in Missouri. A recent analysis found that, in 2013, more than 50 percent of families in Missouri earned on average $50,000 or less. These families devoted an average of 20 percent of their disposable income to energy costs in 2013. 

That’s why I’ve recently challenged the EPA to withdraw the proposed rule and conduct a full analysis of the effects of new power plant regulations on all ratepayers, especially lower-income communities, before moving forward. In November 2014, I met with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Chemistry, Oil, Refining, and Manufacturing Associations to discuss the impact of EPA regulations on jobs with good take-home pay in Missouri and nationwide. Also, In January 2014, I led a bipartisan group of 21 U.S. Senators in sending a letter to President Barack Obama urging his administration to stop punishing the most vulnerable American families with higher utility bills. 

As part of my all-of-the-above approach to encourage a more reliable, diverse, and affordable domestic energy supply, I’ll continue working to prevent the EPA and the Obama Administration from enacting proposals that fail to take into account the broad impact bad energy policy has on the most vulnerable people in our state.

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