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Roby: Here’s what Obama’s ‘Clean Power Plan’ really means for Alabama (Opinion)

U.S. Rep Martha Roby (R-AL2)
U.S. Rep Martha Roby (R-AL2)

This week, President Obama announced his “Clean Power Plan” and with it a costly national energy tax that will negatively impact American families and jobs.

Of course, the Administration touts the plan as “the single most important step America has ever taken in the fight against global climate change.” But what you didn’t hear the president say is that despite the significant increase this will cause in energy bills for hardworking middle-class families, this plan actually does little to nothing to alter the impact of future climate change.

Under the plan, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will implement stringent regulations limiting carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, hiking rates and shutting down energy plants, especially in the coal industry. And while I think we can all agree that achieving more affordable, reliable and safe energy is a priority, more regulations and burdensome expenses to American families are not solutions.

It’s no surprise that the EPA is once again going beyond its authority, pushing for overly burdensome regulations that have the potential to significantly affect our economy, discourage investment and stifle job creation. This agency is one of the most egregious offenders of “backdoor legislating” by frequently attempting to circumvent Congress to set policy.

But Congress is responsible for writing the laws of our nation on behalf of the priorities and interests of those we represent.

The House of Representatives has passed legislation to push back on the Administration’s environmental agenda and to rein in the EPA’s overreach. One such bill recently passed, the Ratepayer Protection Act, allows states to opt out of the EPA’s proposed rule capping carbon emission rates for existing power plants. If a state shows that energy prices would increase under the EPA’s plan, it is not required to participate.

Through the Appropriations process thus far, we have used the “power of the purse” to prevent the EPA from implementing harmful regulations like the “Waters of the U.S.” rule, which will cost Alabamians greatly. Also included in our Fiscal Year 2016 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill are provisions to prohibit implementation of the “Clean Power Plan,” to prohibit regulations on the lead content of ammo and fishing tackle and to prohibit a change in the definition of “fill material.”

It’s disappointing, but not surprising, to see the president is once again more focused on his “legacy” than he is on the priorities and needs of the American people. As your representative, I will not let up on the EPA and will continue to support legislation to protect Alabama’s interests.

Congresswoman Martha Roby represents Alabama’s 2nd district.

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