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U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson Stresses Need for U.S. Energy Independence in Cadiz Visit

photo by: Carri Graham

U.S. Reps. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, left, and Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., listen Friday as ODNR mine safety manager Butch Dyer talks safety practices during a tour of the Mine Safety Training Center.

CADIZ — U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson made a stop in Cadiz Friday morning as he hosted a tour of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Mine Safety Training Center alongside other members of the Congressional Western Caucus.

Caucus Chairman Dan Newhsouse, R-Washington, and U.S. Rep. Mariannete Miller-Meeks, R-Iowa, accompanied Johnson, R-Ohio, on the tour that included facilities in both Harrison and Columbiana counties.

The first stop was in Cadiz, where ODNR Mine Safety Manager Butch Dyer and NRA2 Underground Supervisor Russ Byers led the group on a tour of the facility including inside the Simulated Mine Smoke Laboratory, where a rescue crew was in the midst of training. Dyer and Byers spoke about coal mine safety practices and procedures and answered the representatives’ questions.

Afterward, the caucus members held a private roundtable discussion with coal industry officials.

Following the meeting, Johnson spoke about the importance of policies that promote harvesting the country’s own natural resources.

“In the past decade or so, there’s been $90 billion of investment that have come from oil and gas companies associated with the oil and gas industry that have come into our region of the country. That’s a big pot of money. Job creation, quality of life improvements, promoting energy independence, so we need policies out of Washington that empower energy companies whether it’s coal or oil and gas to harvest our fossil fuels,” he said.

Johnson said fossil fuels provide the world with 90 percent of its energy.

“You can’t do without fossil fuels,” he added.

He then spoke of the future of coal in the region amid what he referred to as a war on coal.

“We’ve been fighting that battle since I came into office in January of 2011. There has been a war on coal, and that war continues still today — what they can’t do legislatively because Congress, both the House and the Senate, we understand the value of coal-fired energy.

“Take, for example, 22% of America’s energy comes from coal; 37% here in Ohio alone. That’s over a third of our power generation. What’s going to happen when the several dozen coal-fired power plants between now and the end of 2024 get taken off line, and there is no plan by this administration to fill that absent power that’s going to be coming off the grid,” he said.

Johnson said they are working to educate members of the House of Representatives of the value of fossil fuels in hopes of passing legislation to keep the energy sources alive.

When asked what it will take to ease high energy costs, Johnson responded that the answer is getting America back on the track to become energy independent.

“We were energy independent just a few months ago. This did not start, this skyrocketing energy cost, the rise in gasoline, the rise in inflation, the rise in cost to heat and cool our homes and cook our food did not start until the Biden administration came into office. That’s when it started. By going after regulations that make it impossible to generate coal-fired electricity, shutting down the Keystone XL Pipeline, tamping down oil and gas resources on public lands – those are the kinds of policies that make it difficult to generate fossil fuel power generation,” he said, adding that those regulations need to be reversed.

The caucus next traveled to the Spread Eagle Tavern in Hanoverton for an oil and gas industry roundtable.

According to a news release, the caucus is a group of more than 75 members from across the United States who serve as the “voice for rural America.”

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