Obama's EPA trying to kill coal, raise your electric bill

Obama's EPA trying to kill coal, raise your electric bill

By John Shimkus and Rodney Davis

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), under the president's directive through his Climate Action Plan, issued a rule on Sept. 20 that will kill the future for coal and raise costs for electricity in the future.

EPA's rule limits the release of carbon-dioxide at any new coal power plant. In reality, the rule is a ban on constructing new coal-fired power plants, as there is no technology commercially available and capable of meeting the standards set.

For those who say use carbon capture and sequestration, there is no full-scale power plant that is currently utilizing this technology. While some are under construction, that doesn't mean it will be successful. Plus, the cost of such technology is tremendous.

We understand that the climate changes. Temperatures rise and fall over time and even minor changes can have great effects, as evidenced in Greenland. (Shimkus visited Greenland in 2008.) And we owe it to future generations to ensure that our environment is safe and clean.

Yet unilateral, job-killing proposals like this rule, or cap and trade, do nothing more than increase the cost of doing business in America and reduce our competitiveness in the global economy.

Even if the United States reduces its carbon emissions, many other nations around the globe will continue to increase their rate of emissions, and the United States will face the harsh economic effects of this rule alone.

In fact, carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. actually decreased last year by 3.8 percent. This represents the lowest levels since the mid-1990s. At the same time, carbon dioxide emissions around the world increased last year to the highest levels ever on record.

So while we are doing our part, the world is falling behind. This rule will penalize consumers by jeopardizing energy reliability and increasing utility costs to families and businesses across Illinois.

What are the real effects of this rule? Forget about new coal-fired power plants being built. Thus, forget about new coal mines being opened. The effects could eventually include the closing of both existing power plants and coal mines — putting thousands of workers out of their jobs, including many right here in Illinois.

Additionally, without the reasonably priced base load electricity generated by coal-fired power plants, the president and EPA want us to move toward renewable power.

While wind and solar are increasing the amount of electricity they generate, they are reliant on factors that do not permit them to be considered for our base load needs.

Luckily, natural gas is booming — no thanks to the president and EPA. Our efforts in Congress have been to keep EPA out of regulating fracking. We hope the future remains bright for natural gas, but that doesn't mean we should shove coal aside.

What happens when cheaper and more reliable electricity generation is removed from our nation's power fleet? Higher prices and more brownouts. Is that what you want to see happen? We don't.

And once they think we've forgotten about this rule, next year comes the whopper — a rule restricting carbon emissions from existing plants, which sets a dangerous path for America resulting in an over-reliance on a single fuel source for our electricity generation.

We promise to continue to fight the implementation of this rule and future anti-coal rules through legislative and funding means to ensure we have a true all-of-the-above national energy policy.

U.S. Rep Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, represents the 13th District of Illinois and sits on the House Committees on Agriculture and Transportation & Infrastructure and is a member of the Coal Caucus. U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, represents the 15th District of Illinois, sits on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and is a co-chairman of the Coal Caucus.


News-Gazette.com embraces discussion of both community and world issues. We welcome you to contribute your ideas, opinions and comments, but we ask that you avoid personal attacks, vulgarity and hate speech. We reserve the right to remove any comment at our discretion, and we will block repeat offenders' accounts. To post comments, you must first be a registered user, and your username will appear with any comment you post. Happy posting.

Login or register to post comments

Willinois wrote on September 29, 2013 at 4:09 pm

John Shimkus is hoping we forget his enthusiastic support for the Prairie State coal plant. Municipalities and co-ops that invested in that project had to raise rates 30%-60% after it cost far more than Peapody projected. Shimkus still hasn't apologized for seeking taxpayer support for the project and telling local officials the plant was a good idea. A lot of people are paying higher rates thanks to politicians like Shimkus who supported Prairie State.

Both Davis and Shimkus strongly supported the coal plant Tenaska proposed in Taylorville, despite the fact that it would have mandated rate increases for most of the state. Even the Illinois Commerce Commission showed that power from the plant would have cost far, far more than the market rate for wind power. The fact is, neither of them mind rate increases when it's time to support a new coal project. Maybe the real problem is that wind and solar aren't giving as much in campaign donations as the coal industry.

They claim Obama's rules will stop new coal plants from being built. Every utility that built a coal plant in the last 10 years had to raise rates significantly, so maybe Obama's plan will keep rates lower than the Shimkus and Davis flat earth society.

STM wrote on October 01, 2013 at 5:10 am

Meanwhile, Shimkus also supports the Keystne XL pipeline which will open offshore markets to Canadian tar sands oil. This is oil which so far, besides being environmentally nasty, has only been available to North American markets. Once sold offshore, domestic fuel prices will rise. Again we can thank Shimkus for higher prices.

...and yet, during the shutdown, he still gets paid.

Political Observer wrote on October 03, 2013 at 1:10 am

Oh, wow! This is great!

John "The Benefits of Global Warming!" Shimkus and Rodney "DITTO!" Davis (R-Limbaugh) have apparently written a News-Gazette editorial together on energy issues?!  Unbelieveable!

Pop the popcorn and settle back in the easy chair!  The book has already been written on these two guys!  The movie's starting and there's no way they can run away from their documented records on this one!

Political Observer wrote on October 03, 2013 at 2:10 am

[Duplicate Post Removed]

Political Observer wrote on October 03, 2013 at 2:10 am

First of all, I should explain why

1.  Shimkus has earned the moniker, "John 'The Benefits of Global Warming' Shimkus, and

2.  Why it makes sense to refer Davis as Rodney "DITTO" Davis (R-Limbaugh).


1.  In the video at the link below, Shimkus is given a chance in a 9-minute news interview  to respond to people who question what his quotes from the Book of Genesis have to do with global climate change. The interviewer first shows us a part of a video featuring Shimkus, then gives him a chance to further elaborate his views on climate change.

 In his response, Shimkus goes so far as to outline the supposed BENEFITS OF GLOBAL WARMING (!!!), discussing

a.   The new “Northwest Passage for cargo shipping,”  mentioning

b.  The possibility of “oil and gas recovery under the Arctic Circle,” and then contending that

c.   “Greenland is happy to receive tourists and grow their own vegetables!”

He winds up by concluding that, "For every person who thinks climate change is terrible, there are those who are ready to deal and adapt with the changes that have occurred throughout the history of the Earth."


So there you have it!  John Shimkus has explained for us in this news video what he sees as the BENEFITS OF GLOBAL WARMING!  So why should we even bother to read his News-Gazette editorial when he's actually looking forward to the world's clilmate warming up?!

2.  After around 20 years of WDWS broadcasting Rush Limbaugh's show to East Central Illinois, there are an awful lot of Dittoheads out there in Rodney Davis country.  So many of them, in fact, that Davis even included a shout-out to them, in the 4-Way Beauty Contest (moderated and MC'ed by our very own Habeeb George Habeeb!), that pitted Davis against Erika Harold, Jerry Clarke and Kathy Wassink at the Hilton Garden Inn, back in May of 2012:

Habeeb George Habeeb (reading a submitted question):  "Will you support the Ryan Budget Proposal?  If not, why?"

Jerry Clarke:  "I would support the Ryan Budget in concept.  There's some tweaks that I think I would want to do to it.  But in concept he was right on..."

Rodney Davis: "DITTO!"

And that was Davis' entire answer to the question that Habeeb had read...just, "DITTO!"  After a brief pause in the proceedings to allow the laughter and guffaws to quiet down, it was clear that that was indeed Davis' full response to the question, so at that point the next speaker, Erika Harold,  started giving her answer.

You can watch it for yourself, if you'd like, at about 4:30 into the video that's posted here:


Now that's what you call a "3-fer!"

WIth his one-word answer, Davis...

1.  Saved himself the hard work of having to come up with his own answer, by just piggybacking on Jerry Clarke's answer,

2.  Said, "Thank You!" to the News-Gazette's WDWS radio station for broadcasting one of his favorite radio programs,

and at the same time he

3.  Gave a shout-out to his hero Rush Limbaugh...

And all with just a single one-word answer that likely resonated strongly with the Limbaugh fans in Rodney Davis Country!

However, for those of us who don't particularly care for the hateful, demented diatribes of Rush Limbaugh, I hope his "DITTO!" reply comes readily to mind whenever we step into a voting both and see the name of Rodney "DITTO" Davis (R-Limbaugh) on an election ballot.

Political Observer wrote on October 03, 2013 at 4:10 pm

There's some discussion of the giant moneybags of filthy lucre that Shimkus has hoovered up here:



He's chairman of a major House subcommittee that is responsible for legislation and the oversight of toxic substances, drinking water, fracking and the regulation of solid, hazardous and nuclear wastes. As such he is the recipient of hundreds of thousands of dollars every year from political action committees representing electric utilities, oil companies, chemical companies, manufacturers, labor unions, agribusinesses and more.

In the April through June period, Shimkus raised $354,575. About a tenth of that sum — $34,375 — came from individuals, and most of those itemized donations were from outside his district.

The rest of Shimkus' haul during the three months — $320,200 — came from big PACs like Exxon Mobil, Boeing, John Deere, Honeywell, Altria, Halliburton and Edison International, the parent company of Southern California Edison. There were dozens more contributors of between $5,000 and $1,000 to Shimkus' campaign fund.

He's a reliable vote against regulation and most environmental measures, like the recent House floor vote that gave states rather than the federal government the authority to regulate toxic coal ash left from coal-burning power plants. Shimkus called the legislation "pro-jobs, pro-environment, anti-bureaucracy."