Wicker commends Trump’s focus on U.S. energy independence

Published 7:00 am Thursday, March 23, 2017

By U.S. Senator Roger Wicker

The Obama Administration had a troubling habit of picking the energy industry’s winners and losers.

The Trump Administration is taking a different approach, with policies designed to make American workers and families the real winners. In the coming days, President Trump is expected to issue an executive order to put an end to the previous Administration’s job-killing war on coal.

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The order could specifically target President Obama’s so-called Clean Power Plan, a linchpin of his extreme environmental agenda. Under this plan, states are forced to comply with severe limits on carbon dioxide emissions, which disproportionately affect power plants. This federal overreach is so intrusive that the Supreme Court has already halted its implementation. Although the last Congress passed two Republican-led measures to overturn these burdensome regulations, both measures were ultimately vetoed by President Obama.

Costs Without the Benefits

President Trump has repeatedly called for a much-needed reversal of President Obama’s climate rules. In addition to legal concerns, the costs and benefits of the Obama Administration’s regulatory onslaught just do not add up. National Economic Research Associates has estimated the rules would cost as much as $39 billion a year and prompt double-digit increases in electricity rates in most states. In Mississippi, compliance would shutter coal-fired plants and require new infrastructure, disrupting energy reliability and leading to higher utility costs.

Environmental policies should come with actual results. President Obama’s drastic regulation of carbon dioxide emissions would not make a significant impact on global

temperatures, despite the unreasonable burdens put on American workers and families. His plan also ignores the strides by energy providers in Mississippi to reduce CO2 emissions in recent years. These advancements and investments should not be overlooked.

Strong Energy Sector Important to Jobs, Economy

Achieving U.S. energy independence is a goal I share with President Trump. Removing rules that do more harm than good is a step we should take toward achieving energy security. Our national interests should not be put at risk by a reliance on foreign energy providers when we have plentiful resources here at home.

I am encouraged by the technological advances that have helped U.S. oil production reach levels not seen in more than four decades. America is now recognized for having the largest oil reserves in the world.

The strength of our energy sector is critical to economic growth and job creation. According to the U.S. Energy and Employment Report released last year, more than 5.5 million Americans work in either traditional energy industries or those related to energy efficiency. About a third of workers in the U.S. construction industry work on energy or energy-efficiency projects.

Energy policy makes a difference at the local level, too. According to a 2015 study, nearly 60,000 Mississippians are employed in energy jobs, and the sector contributes $6.7 billion to the state’s gross domestic product.

Washington should not hamper these benefits to our state and workforce by imposing high-cost, big-government regulations.