Bob Goodlatte: The war on affordable energy

bob-goodlatte-afp2With the days getting shorter and the air crisper, families and businesses in the Sixth District are likely starting to use a little more electricity. As folks start to see electric bills tick up during the winter months, it’s hard to imagine the cost of electricity getting much higher – but consider this.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average residential electricity rate in the United States is 12.39 cents per kilowatt-hour. In Virginia, it is slightly lower at 10.91 cents per kilowatt-hour. In comparison, German households pay roughly 37 cents per-kilowatt-hour, largely due to their use of more expensive and less reliable energy sources.

Can you imagine how much your electric bill would be each month if you were paying rates that high? That’s exactly what we do not want see, and cannot afford to see, in the United States. For many it’s difficult enough to make ends meet as it is, but what will happen if the Obama Administration’s proposed regulations on power plants are enacted?

In June, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) put forth a plan to require fossil fuel fired power plants, including those using coal to generate electricity, to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent by 2030. The result would essentially be cap-and-trade by another name and result in the shuttering of power plants throughout the nation that provide a large amount of America’s electricity.

The EPA’s proposed plan will harm job creation and raise prices to consumers as industries cut back due to higher costs. Additionally, it would cause many of the energy providers that we rely upon each day to have no other choice but to raise prices and force more of Americans’ hard-earned income to go towards paying the electric bill. What has often been characterized as the Obama Administration’s war against coal is really a war against affordable energy, and in turn, the working poor, retirees living on fixed incomes, rural communities, and inner city families – all people hit particularly hard by higher energy costs.

Rather than this onslaught of costly regulations, let’s focus on policies that won’t raise the cost of living for American consumers or hinder the ability of American businesses to compete. The House of Representatives has passed legislation that would stop the EPA’s proposed power plant regulations and instead encourage the development of all our resources in order to make energy more affordable for American families. Now it’s time for the Senate to act.

Bob Goodlatte represents the Sixth District in Congress.