CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- On Friday the U.S. House of Representatives wrapped up the last week of session before members returned home.
It's no surprise that with 8 percent unemployment for 43 consecutive months, we chose to focus on job-creating legislation, specifically saving and creating jobs in the energy industry. The House passed, with my strong support, the Stop The War On Coal Act of 2012.
The War on Coal affects families in West Virginia perhaps more than any other state. Over 2,000 coal-related jobs have been lost, crippling towns and local economies. Besides layoffs by mining companies, job losses in related fields such as transportation usually accompany job losses in mines. The domino effect is staggering.
When I think of the president's attitude toward coal one word comes to mind: Extreme. Through the rule-making Environmental Protection Agency, the president has attempted to regulate where he can't legislate. This has resulted in over-regulation, a dangerously slowed-down permit approval process and, of course, job loss.
For decades, the EPA and federal and state agencies have worked in harmony to protect our environment while protecting jobs.
The president's energy policies have greatly upset this balance.
That's why the House felt it was necessary to include my bill, the Employment Protection Act, in the Stop the War on Coal Act. My bill would require the EPA to consider the impact that any new regulation, guidance, policy statement or permitting decision would have on jobs and the economy. All of us want clean air and clean water, but I believe that environmental regulations should be balanced with the need to maintain jobs.
Lastly, unlike the president, I believe in an all-of-the-above energy plan.
Coal, natural gas, oil, nuclear, wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal energy sources all have a role to play in our national energy portfolio. There is no question, however, that electricity from coal and natural gas is cheaper and more reliable than electricity generated from renewable sources. One recent study found that the average family of four would pay on average $189 per month if it obtained 100 percent of its electricity from coal, but $504 per month if the same family purchased 100 percent of its electricity from solar power.
That's a difference of $315 per month. With 47 million Americans on food stamps and everything from the price of gas to the price of milk increasing, Americans are looking to save money in every way possible.
Simply put, coal-fired electricity makes economic sense for families in West Virginia and across the country.
As a West Virginian, I am proud to stand up for the thousands of workers who help power America with home-grown natural resources, and I won't stop until the president halts his War on Coal.
Capito represents the West Virginia's Second District and is co-founder of the Congressional Coal Caucus.