Long before Americans were around to blame, there was climate change. Geology tells us that at one time, much of Ohio was covered by ice. At other times, the planet was so warm, that Ohio was under water. These are facts proven throughout the Earth's history, recorded for the ages in the ground that we live on. Our climate is constantly changing.
Last week, President Obama announced his new "climate change policy." As is becoming routine for this president, he used platitudes and flowery rhetoric to attack the industries, and the workers, that have helped to make America the greatest, most prosperous nation on Earth. Last week, once again, he had coal in his sights.
As this president often does, he belittles those who hold different views from his own. In rolling out his new climate change policy - a policy that he is choosing to impose on the American people unilaterally, without approval from Congress - he ridiculed those who do not believe that humans are to blame for global warming as members of "the flat earth society."
Get it? Those who think we are not doing irreparable harm to planet Earth are so foolish that we must also believe the earth is flat, too. Can you imagine President Kennedy or President Reagan openly mocking their fellow Americans for holding a different, yet perfectly legitimate view?
At the heart of the president's plan is a planned rule that would regulate carbon-dioxide emissions from all existing power plants. Carbon dioxide - the air that we exhale when we breathe - has been labeled as a primary cause of global warming by some climate scientists. Interestingly, according to several recent reports, that have appeared in Time Magazine and the New York Times, while global carbon dioxide levels have increased, global temperatures have leveled off. The report goes on to say that "half the heat energy that was expected to fuel global warming since 2003 has gone 'missing.'"
Additionally, a recent peer-reviewed survey of Canadian geoscientists and engineers found that only 36 percent believe that humans are creating global warming. The study concludes:
"The vast majority of professional experts believe the climate is changing; it is the cause, the severity and urgency of the problem, and the need to take action, especially the efficacy of regulation, that is at issue."
The practical effect of the president's rule is that most coal-fired power plants will be forced to shut down. There are six coal-fired power plants here in Eastern and Southeastern Ohio that would likely close. Those jobs would be gone. Those that mine coal will have less of a market to sell to. More of those jobs would be gone.
Small businesses dependent on customers from those who work in the plants and mines will suffer. And, because 90 percent of the electricity generated in Ohio is coal-fired, Ohio businesses and families will be paying significantly higher utility bills as their electricity will have to come from other, more expensive sources. That's even more jobs lost.
It is deeply disappointing that this president seems so beholden to radical environmentalists that he's willing to, once again, pick winners and losers, rather than enforcing the environmental laws already on the books, and letting the people - the free market - determine where we get our energy.
It's difficult to forget the president's decision to throw $500 million of American's tax dollars at Solyndra - a failed solar energy company. Yet he is deliberately suppressing oil and gas development on federal lands and continues to use the EPA to throw more rules and regulations at the coal industry.
This president is manipulating the livelihoods of many who work in the mines and at the power plants, and those whose businesses depend on them. Nobody cares more about the quality of the air we breathe or the water we drink than those of us who live here in Appalachia. But President Obama is choosing to turn our economy upside down on a theory - one that some on the far left pursue with an almost religious zeal. And one that has more holes in it than they once said the ozone layer had. Remember the hysteria over the hole in the ozone layer?
America needs an "all of the above" energy vision, not a "what President Obama thinks is best for us" dictate. We should be harvesting and using all of the abundant natural resources our great nation has been blessed with: coal, natural gas, oil, nuclear, hydropower - and we'll figure out where wind and solar fit into this vision too. We can, and should be, energy independent.
I will be introducing a short video clip outlining the energy vision that I believe America should pursue. In my view, the pursuit of energy independence will create the jobs and spur the good old fashion American innovation and technological advancement that we haven't experienced since we decided to fly to the moon.
Please look for it on my website at billjohnson.house.gov.