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The Unaffordable War on Coal

West Virginia has suffered the devastating impact of President Obama’s War on Coal and this week’s headlines were a grim reminder. On Tuesday, the West Virginia Public Service Commission announced a 16% rate hike for residential customers of Appalachian Power Company and Wheeling Power Company. That’s a $123 million hike for next year. The increase is needed because of a $407 million investment to bring Appalachian’s power plants into compliance with the Obama Administration’s new regulations.

The layoffs by Murray Energy and Alpha Natural Resources last week are examples of the hardships coal mining companies are facing. As government targets their operations, these businesses are forced to cut costs and hunker down. The endless stream of excessive, ill-conceived regulations coming out of Washington burdens our local economy by shutting down plants and killing investment.

President Obama came into office promising to “necessarily skyrocket” electricity prices, and unlike his promises not to raise taxes or that you could keep your doctor, this is one promise he intends to keep. Watch him discuss electricity prices by clicking the video below:

Do Puddles Require EPA Permits?

On Wednesday, President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency(EPA)released a new rule requiring farmers, manufacturers, and homeowners to seek expensive permits for puddles and ditches. Under the Clean Water Act the federal government is limited to protecting “navigable waters” but the EPA is now seeking to expand its authority beyond recognition.

A couple weeks ago, The Preston County News & Journal wrote about the House’s response to this overreach. As I said then, “the legislation we passed will order regulators back to the drawing board, with an admonition to listen to the very real concerns of people who would have their farm fields and ditches regulated in the same manner as navigable streams.” Read the full story here.

Playing Politics With Disaster Aid

Back in March, the Federal Emergency Management Administration announced a new policy requiring states to address what the Administration unilaterally deems as “climate change” before the state can be eligible for disaster aid. After trying to get answers for months, I joined a formal letter demanding FEMA halt implementing this blatantly political policy.

This is nothing but more bullying by the Obama Administration to enforce their radical environmental agenda on the entire country. West Virginia has faced its share of natural disasters this year, and federal aid is supposed to be there in times of emergency. But now the President is threatening to take away that vital aid if West Virginians don’t spend money we don’t have on projects we don’t need. You can read the letter here.

What to Look Forward To

Next month in the House we will take up legislation to strengthen our energy security, push back on the Administration’s burdensome regulations, and encourage job growth throughout America. By allowing West Virginians to benefit from our natural resources, such as oil, gas, and coal, we can put people back to work and keep energy prices down.

My bipartisan legislation to protect the 316,000 American workers in the coal ash recycling and related industries will also see a vote in June. Currently, EPA regulations are confusing businesses and leaving them unsure what will happen to them under arbitrary rules. H.R. 1734, the Improving Coal Combustion Residuals Regulation Act, would give these workers and their families the certainty they deserve.

Watch my statement on the bill by clicking below:

Have a great week,

David McKinley

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