I believe that the United States needs a real “all of the above” energy strategy – one that engages our domestic energy industries as partners in an all-out effort to create jobs, lower electricity and gas prices, and achieve American energy security. This strategy must set a rational course toward sustainable and renewable energy by employing today’s proven resources as a bridge to the technologies of the future. However, any realistic approach must prioritize energy security and recognize the need for a diversity of fuel sources, including the life-improving power of fossil energy. Whether you’re a coal miner, an autoworker, a farmer, a construction worker, or the head of your household budget, odds are your livelihood is significantly impacted by the availability of affordable and reliable fuel and electricity.
Currently, a revolution in natural gas and oil production is transforming the American energy and manufacturing sectors. The International Energy Agency recently released forecasts predicting that the United States will overtake Russia and Saudi Arabia to become the world’s top oil producer by 2015, and that our country can be entirely energy self-sufficient by 2035. Coupled with our 250-year supply of coal, the United States is poised to be the world’s energy superpower. This energy bounty is already reducing costs for domestic companies, contributing to the return or “onshoring” of high-tech manufacturing that will allow well-paid American workers to compete on a cost basis with low-wage foreign competitors like China. And yet, the bureaucrats in Washington, not satisfied with their efforts to regulate coal out of existence, are threatening to stifle this oil, gas, and manufacturing renaissance before it has even begun.
As your Representative and a Member of the Congressional Coal Caucus, I have advanced a number of measures to cut needless bureaucratic red tape and harmful regulations, increase our domestic energy production, and unshackle the job-creating potential of these high-tech extraction and manufacturing industries.
- The 113th House of Representatives has passed several bills with my support that would facilitate domestic energy production and create thousands of jobs. These include measures that would require congressional approval of Executive Branch Agency regulations expected to have an impact of $100 million on the economy; give congressional approval to the Keystone XL pipeline that will carry oil to the United States from Canada; facilitate the creation of new hydropower projects; streamline permitting for oil and natural gas pipelines; and increase energy production on federal lands.
- I have opposed at every turn the President’s Climate Action Plan that would prevent the construction of new coal plants and gradually shutter existing facilities. This would be harmful to the nation’s economy – which receives nearly 40 percent of its electricity from coal – but absolutely devastating to Kentuckians, who receive over 90 percent of their electricity from coal. The job losses in the coal fields would be just the beginning as skyrocketing electric rates ripple across the economy, adding tens of thousands of individuals to the unemployment lines.
- The Administration’s War on Coal has contributed to the elimination of over 6,000 jobs in eastern Kentucky in just the last few years, putting Kentucky’s coal employment at its lowest level since records were first kept by the Commonwealth in 1927. As a cosponsor of H.R. 1829, the Coal Jobs Protection Act, I feel enough is enough with the efforts of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers to deadlock the coal permitting process. This legislation would put a time limit on consideration of these permits. And, while defending coal miners’ right to work to support their families, I have cosponsored H.R. 2918, the Coal Healthcare and Pensions Protection Act, which ensures that promises of healthcare and retirement benefits made to our nation’s coal miners are kept.
More on Energy
Congressman Andy Barr spoke on the House Floor about the Environmental Protection Agency's strangling overregulation of our nation’s economy. As he pointed out, "The coal industry in my region in central and eastern Kentucky could be the poster child of this regulatory onslaught. According to the Commonwealth's recently released figures, more than 7,000 coal miners in the Appalachian coalfields have received pink slips since 2009; 2,232 of those jobs were lost last year alone, thanks in large part to the overreach of the EPA."
WASHINGTON – Congressman Andy Barr released the following statement following President Obama’s State of the Union Address:
“Tonight, I had hoped to hear about how the President will reduce our exploding federal debt, protect the American people from the harmful effects of the new healthcare law, and grow the economy to create jobs for hardworking families who are suffering in this stagnant economy.
“Unfortunately, the President offered the same failed approach of more government spending, more job-crushing regulations, and higher taxes.
WASHINGTON –Congressman Andy Barr today released the following statement following House passage of the FY 2014 Omnibus Appropriations bill:
“The people of central and eastern Kentucky sent me to Washington to rein in out-of-control federal spending, save our country from bankruptcy, and promote the long-term growth of our economy and our workforce.
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell announced today that he filed an amicus brief in the United States Supreme Court to support Kentucky’s coal miners, their families, small businesses and all those negatively affected by the Administration’s War on Coal. Senator McConnell’s amicus brief was joined by Senator Rand Paul and Congressmen Hal Rogers, Ed Whitfield, Brett Guthrie, Thomas Massie and Andy Barr of Kentucky. Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX), Chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, also joined the brief.
During a House Financial Services Committee hearing on December 11, Congressman Andy Barr questioned Treasury Secretary Jack Lew about the Obama Administration’s policy guidance for the World Bank and the Export-Import Bank, which discourages the sale of American coal overseas. The respective missions of the World Bank and the Export-Import Bank are to help grow the economies of developing countries and to support American exporters in reaching new markets. And yet, as part of this Administration’s efforts to prevent the mining, burning, and now even the exporting of domestic coal, these
WASHINGTON - Congressman Barr released the following statement closure or conversion to natural gas of eight coal-fired power units in the southeast, including three in Kentucky:
The House has voted multiple times to fund the government and to prevent a shutdown.