U.S. House of Representatives members from West Virginia and East Ohio are fighting the good fight against a plan that would devastate our economies and slash the quality of life for every resident of our area. But they cannot win unless the balance of power on the other side of the Capitol, in the U.S. Senate, is reversed.
Led by U.S. Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., dozens of lawmakers are sponsoring a bill to rein in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Co-sponsors include Reps. Shelley Capito, R-W.Va.; and Robert Gibbs and Bill Johnson, both R-Ohio.
EPA officials have been doing the bidding of their boss, President Barack Obama, for years. His goal seems to be to shut down every coal-fired power plant in the nation.
Rules making it virtually impossible to build new coal-fired power plants already are being implemented by the EPA. Now, the agency has revealed it plans to go after existing coal-fired stations.
If Obama and the EPA are not checked, the U.S. economy will suffer drastic damage. By 2030, American households could lose as much as $586 billion, according to the Institute for 21st Century Energy of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Electric bills would be $289 billion higher by the same date. And, the institute estimates, the rules would cost Americans an average of 224,000 jobs every year between now and 2030.
That may not be even the half of it for West Virginians and Ohioans. Because our states are so reliant on coal to generate electricity, the damage would be much worse here.
House Resolution 4813, introduced by McKinley and with 72 co-sponsors, would block the EPA's plan entirely. It also would establish a five-year moratorium on similar initiatives, unless approved by Congress.
Almost undoubtedly, the measure will be approved by the House. Then it will head to a certain fate in the Senate: oblivion.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and other liberals in that body will ensure nothing like the House resolution ever comes up for a vote. Senate Republicans and moderate Democrats such as Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., simply do not have enough power to get around Reid. Even if they could manage somehow to do so, Obama would veto any attempt to curb the EPA.
That makes it imperative that worried Americans change the Senate in elections this fall. Only by electing Republicans who favor HB 4813 and are committed to taking power away from Reid will a genuine economic catastrophe be averted.