Energy costs represent the top line on almost every family budget, and I have long supported “all of the above” energy policies to ensure that electricity costs remain as low as possible for hard-working families and seniors. Making our country energy independent will require policies that increase the supply of American-made energy today while investing in technologies to provide a stable, long-term source of affordable and environmentally-friendly energy.
Luckily, our region of southern and eastern Kentucky boasts some of the most affordable energy in the world- coal. I have always supported the responsible, safe and efficient mining and use of coal, as nearly one-third of all the coal mines in the country are in Kentucky. Today, the Fifth Congressional District alone is home to nearly 500 mining operations and over 17,000 mine operators and contractors. Thousands of additional jobs are directly tied to the industry in the region. The Commonwealth gets over 90% of its electricity from coal, and has some of the lowest rates in the nation.
Unfortunately, policies adopted by the current Administration threaten this vital economic engine that has provided inexpensive domestic energy and good, secure employment to generations of Americans. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has become the poster child for this Administration's widespread regulatory overreach and is as a result putting mining, manufacturing, and farming families out of work at a time when some Kentucky counties have 18% unemployment. With the continued economic slowdown, these regulations that threaten investment and jobs while increasing electricity and gas prices cannot be justified. When the economy is facing greater uncertainty than any time since the Great Depression, enacted and proposed government rules on everything from boilers to farm dust to light bulbs only exacerbate matters for businesses and consumers.
For these reasons, I am proud to be a strong voice in Congress in opposition to the EPA's anti-coal power grab and job-killing regulations. Most notably, the work of the House Appropriations Committee, which I chair, sends a strong message that the EPA's "legislation by regulation" faces strong bi-partisan opposition. In addition, the House of Representatives has considered a whole host of bills to rein in the EPA and create a climate where businesses can put the American people back to work. I will continue to fight alongside Kentucky coal miners, farmers, and manufacturers for their jobs and livelihoods, and for our nation's energy security. It is a fight we cannot afford to lose.