AUBURN, Ala. — In an op-ed published by the Auburn-Opelika News on Sunday, Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard made the explosive claim that he believes President Obama is “targeting Alabama’s economy for political reasons.”
“For the past several decades, dozens of companies have chosen to leave the hostile, pro-union business climate of the once thriving industrial northeast for the more welcoming, conservative, and business-friendly atmosphere that Alabama offers,” Hubbard wrote.
But in addition to those factors, Hubbard also said that access to affordable energy is one of the primary reasons businesses have been attracted to the state, and that, he said, is the area at which President Obama is taking direct aim.
“Because he senses that the dependable energy and affordable rates we offer are also helping to bleed jobs from the northern areas of the country where his liberal political base dominates, I am convinced that Alabama is among the areas Obama is directly targeting with his aggressive and relentless war on coal,” Hubbard wrote.
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Recently proposed EPA regulations would force the State of Alabama to cut power plant carbon emissions by roughly 30 percent by 2030. More than half of all the electricity Alabama Power generates in the state comes from coal-fired plants, which Hubbard clearly believes are the real targets of the proposed regulations.
And whether he’s right or not that the president is targeting Alabama, there is no question that the increased regulations are already having an impact on the state’s access to affordable energy.
Alabama Power announced on August 1 that federal environmental mandates are forcing them to close two of the state’s coal-fired units and transition two others from coal to natural gas.
At the time of the announcement, Alabama Power said it had spent more than $3 billion to meet federal environmental mandates, and are in the process of spending another $1 billion to comply with new federal environmental regulations tied to air emissions. Further spending could also be required to meet future federal environmental regulations tied to water, land and coal combustion byproducts.
“Any industrial recruiter you ask will attest that our low utility costs are an important ingredient in Alabama’s economic development recipe, and, in the past, our Public Service Commission has utilized this reality by offering even more generous rates to companies that expand operations and create additional jobs,” Hubbard wrote. “Now, Obama and rogue elements within his Environmental Protection Agency are seeking to take away our advantage by using unconstitutional executive orders to implement extreme mandates on Alabama’s coal-based energy production. In addition to derailing our efforts to recruit new industries and expand existing ones, Obama’s end run around Congress threatens the 16,000 individuals whose jobs depend upon the Alabama coal industry.”
To read the full op-ed, visit the OANews.
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