U.S. CONGRESSMAN BILL JOHNSON Proudly Representing Eastern and Southeastern Ohio

Press Releases

HEAT Special Orders: Transcript

f t # e
Washington, December 1, 2015 | Ben Keeler (330.337.6951) | comments
Full remarks by Congressman Johnson on the floor of the U.S. House during a Special Order on November 30, 2015.
share: f t

The Chair: “Pursuant to the order of the House of January 6, 2015 the gentleman from Ohio, Mr. Johnson is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the Majority Leader.”

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.  I yield myself as much time as I may consume.

Because of the number of Members wishing to participate, I ask for unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous materials on the topic of my special order.

Mr. Speaker, as the House begins to consider and debate important energy legislation this week, I want to take just a moment to reflect on the opportunities America has in energy development.  Our energy landscape has tremendously changed in recent years. Thanks to new, innovative technologies, we have gone from a nation of scarcity, to one of energy abundance.  Our new and existing natural resources have created jobs, lowered energy costs, and spurred new investments in manufacturing and chemical industries.

Today, the United States has an opportunity to take advantage of this era of energy abundance. But Congress must first ensure our laws reflect this new energy abundant era, so that we can fully harness our potential as the world’s dominate energy superpower. The legislation we are considering this week will allow our country to do just that.

Unfortunately, the rules and regulations coming out of this Administration conflict with this type of energy independent and secure vision. Most concerning, is the Office of Surface and Mining’s proposed rule to further regulate the coal mining industry, which has already lost more than 40,000 jobs since 2011. If the Administration allows this rule to go into effect, an additional 40,000 to 78,000 coal mining jobs will be at risk.

Dubbed the “Stream Protection Rule”, this regulation will amend or modify 475 existing rules and add new rules on top of that. And, make no mistake about it…this is not an effort to protect streams. It is an effort to regulate the coal mining industry out of business. In fact, between 95 and 100 percent of coal operations occurring in the states that account for almost 75 percent of the nation’s coal production, have no off-site impacts.

So, what does this rule accomplish? This rule means increased energy costs for families and small businesses. At least 22 states – including Ohio – rely on coal for their primary fuel source. Not surprisingly, these states’ electricity prices are well below the national average. I fear that will no longer be the case if we allow this rule to go into effect. Consequently, companies will be forced to pay more for their energy bills instead of hiring additional employees…and, families will be forced to make tough decisions as well, like paying the increasing electric bill or putting food on the table, clothes on the kids, and providing for their education.

Furthermore, U.S. household income is stagnant, and the economy remains mired by sluggish economic growth.  We need to be enacting policies that encourage an economic recovery, not promoting further stagnation by shutting down access to America’s s most abundant and lowest cost energy resource.

What’s worse, this is not the only regulation currently threating our energy security, reliability and low electricity costs.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan will also change how we generate, distribute, and consume electricity by forcing states to comply with C02 targets through a federal takeover of electric power generation. And, it is for this reason, I will be voting in favor of S. J. Res. 23 and 24 this week. These resolutions of disapproval send a clear message to the President that a majority of the Senate, the House, and America, do not approve of higher electricity prices, and an unreliable electric grid.

Mr. Speaker, America was built on ingenuity and resourcefulness. Unlike the Stream Protection Rule and Clean Power Plan, H.R. 8, the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act, will encourage that entrepreneurial spirit, not hinder it. It will pave the way for a resurgence of manufacturing, where new innovative products are designed and built right here in America…and, it will keep America in our rightful place as a leader in the global economy.  I am proud to support this legislation, which the House will be considering this week. H.R. 8 will modernize our energy infrastructure, protect the electricity grid and delivery system, improve energy efficiency, and strengthen our energy diplomacy.

Based on language that I have introduced, and that has previously passed the House with bipartisan support, this legislation includes a streamlined process for natural gas export projects currently pending before the Department of Energy. This language will help strengthen America’s standing as a world-class exporter of natural gas, create tens of thousands of new jobs, add billions to our economy, and help our allies abroad by providing a reliable source of energy.

I am honored to lead this Special Order that will highlight the House’s approach to a truly all of the above domestic energy strategy – a strategy that focuses on a secure and reliable energy sector, with affordable electricity rates for hardworking taxpayers as well as small businesses. 

f t # e