WASHINGTON – As the House debated energy legislation this week, Congressman John Shimkus (R, Illinois-15) reminded his fellow representatives of the human toll of the Obama Administration’s War on Coal.
“The human toll is lost jobs, lost benefits, and bankruptcies which then creates a risk to the promised pension payments to retirees,” Shimkus said. “It becomes a loss of revenue to the taxing districts, to the counties, to the villages, to the first line responders and support for our schools. It dries up the ability for the local grocery store and the local hardware store to operate. It is… devastating to southern Illinois.”
Shimkus also cited comments made by Galatia Mayor David Harrawood to The Southern Illinoisan last month after Murray Energy announced it expects to close the New Era mine in mid-2016. Before layoffs earlier this year, New Era and its sister mine, New Future, employed about 700 people.
“It impacts everybody,” Harrawood told The Southern on November 10. “It doesn’t just impact coal miners. It impacts trucking businesses, the stores, all their vendors. It’s not just one segment. Down here, we’re all tied together.”
Each Illinois coal job supports 3.8 other jobs in the economy, according to the National Mining Association.
On Tuesday, Shimkus voted to use the Congressional Review Act to block two Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules for new and existing power plants. The resolutions seek to block the administration’s end run around Congress and keep electricity prices affordable, protect jobs, and grid reliability.
“This is cap and trade all over again,” Shimkus said of the rules. “The EPA is attempting to do by regulation what a bipartisan majority in Congress refused to move through the legislative process.”
This week the House is also expected to pass H.R. 8, the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act.
“Our energy policy today is rooted in 1970s scarcity thinking,” Shimkus said. “This legislation capitalizes on America’s energy abundance. We are the world’s top energy producer.”
H.R. 8 would:
· Modernize America’s energy infrastructure, speeding up the permitting process for pipeline and grid improvement projects;
· Protect the electricity system against physical and cyber-attacks, electromagnetic pulse, geomagnetic disturbances, severe weather, and seismic events;
· Strengthen energy security and diplomacy by reforming the approval process for liquefied natural gas (LNG) and crude oil exports; and
· Improve energy efficiency and government accountability.