We officially entered the month of June last week and I know many of you are already getting excited and geared up for trips to the beach, the mountains or to visit relatives. Unfortunately, many of us are also experiencing sticker shock as we budget out our travel expenses and factor in the high cost of gas. I know very well that many cannot afford a vacation this year because you’re either struggling to make ends meet or cannot find a job. High gas prices only make things worse.
I hear from folks in our district all the time who are struggling and it breaks my heart. I know we have some of the best, most hardworking people in the world. We have so much potential for growth, but we need the right policies in place to create an environment where small businesses can thrive and our people can find the opportunities they deserve.
Recently, however, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took us in the wrong direction towards achieving that goal by issuing a new regulation requiring power plants to cut carbon emissions by 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. In addition to the frustration that we all have with EPA’s continued overreach of its authority, this latest move concerns me deeply for the millions of Americans who are still suffering in this anemic economy.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy has said the EPA’s new rule will cost America’s economy more than $50 billion a year between now and 2030. This could lead to more than 200,000 fewer U.S. jobs on average every year through 2030.
Furthermore, the EPA’s latest rule means higher energy costs for everyone. The Energy Institute estimates U.S. consumers will have to pay a collective $289 billion more for electricity through 2030. This means that U.S. households will see their disposable incomes drop by nearly $590 billion through 2030.
With so many hardworking individuals still struggling or out of work, it’s very clear the American people cannot afford more job-killing policies like this. Instead, we need to get the government out of the way of domestic energy exploration and production.
A balanced approach that develops more of America’s own energy resources in an environmentally-responsible way will reduce our dependence on Middle Eastern oil and create thousands of jobs here at home. North Carolina is home to potentially vast resources off our coastline. The challenge does not lie in our industry finding these resources, but in man-made government regulatory hurdles that prohibit us from allocating the time and investment to capitalizing on them.
I believe adopting a market-led approach will allow us to develop more American energy in an environmentally-responsible way and unlock the potential for a more prosperous America. I will continue to work with my colleagues to advance commonsense legislation that creates jobs, reduces our dependence on foreign energy, and lowers costs for everyone.
Richard Hudson, a Republican from Concord, represents the 8th District in the U.S. House, which includes most of Robeson County.