CARBONDALE - Thursday, Downstate Perry County's Board of Commissioners publicly opposed the federal Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plant plan, which calls for existing coal power plants to cut their production by 30 percent over the next 15 years.
The Obama Administration's proposal will cause wholesale electricity costs to increase up to 55 percent and states that depend on mining to lose even more jobs, National Mining Association (NMA) President and CEO Hal Quinn says. A coalition of industry leaders have called on the EPA to withdraw and rework the plan.
“By ushering in higher energy costs, the rule will cost jobs, slow employment growth, raise utility bills for millions of households and weaken the reliability of the power grid already described by experts as being close to the edge," Quinn said. "What we need now is for the EPA to give Americans a break and withdraw this rule before the agency breaks the power grid and does serious harm to our economy.”
In an effort to push the EPA back the 30 percent reduction rule, a group of twelve Congressmen - ten Republicans and two Democrats - signed a letter two weeks ago calling for more public EPA hearings on that matter, and that the hearings be held in locations accessible to those directly affected by the proposed changes.
Democrat Congressman Bill Enyart (IL-12) signed onto the letter, which called on the Obama Administration to cease their "war on coal" and "stop picking winners and losers to appease a radical agenda."
“Our region has historic roots in the coal mining industry,” added Enyart in a press statement. “And I won’t stand idly by as unnecessary and duplicative regulations threaten the jobs of hardworking miners in Southern Illinois. They deserve better, and they deserve to be heard by the EPA.”
Despite his strong statement against the EPA and the Obama Administration, Congressman Enyart skipped Thursday's meeting when Perry County passed their resolution condemning the EPA's plans.
Enyart's absence was noted and criticized by his Republican challenger Mike Bost's campaign.
"It was just twenty-four hours ago when Enyart announced to the media he was calling for additional public meetings to take place before the EPA on these new coal-fired power plant regulations," said Bost Campaign spokesman Jim Forbes. "Now he's MIA at today's important meeting in Perry County regarding these job-killing regulations that would devastate many Southern Illinois families."
Staying away from community gatherings like the one in Perry County shows Enyart is "out of touch" with his constituents in Southern Illinois, Forbes said.
"You don't schedule events like 'Congressman on Your Corner' and not show up. In the year and a half he has been in office, Enyart hasn't conducted one single town hall meeting. People of Illinois deserve better."