Posts filed under America’s Power Tour

Threat of EPA Regulations a Rallying Cry for Prospective Candidates

This article by Raymond Starks originally appeared in InsideSources on April 9, 2015.

At an event Thursday at The World Food Prize in Des Moines, Iowa, likely presidential contenders gathered to express their concerns with Environmental Protection Agency regulations they said were holding back America’s economy. Hosted by InsideSources and sponsored by America’s Power, the event introduced policy-minded voters to former Texas Governor Rick Perry, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, all Republicans. Likely presidential candidates from both parties were invited to the event.

Congressman David Young (R-IA) welcomed the three likely presidential candidates and called for an “all of the above approach” to energy policy. He took note of Iowa’s growth in wind and biofuel power, but he pointed out a majority of Iowa’s power still comes from coal, a top target of costly environmental regulations.

David Young

(Conrad Schmidt/AP Images)

Each of the candidates—Perry, Jindal, and Santorum—hails from a top five energy producing state, and all eschewed similar views concerned with overreach of the Environmental Protection Agency on businesses and consumers.

Remarks from each candidate focused attention on the EPA’s Clean Power Plan that seeks to reduce CO2 emissions through heat rate improvements on coal plants, increased utilization of natural gas, an increase in renewables and nuclear energy, and increases in end-use efficiency. The EPA’s preferred implementation of the plan proposes a 30% reduction in CO2power plant emissions by 2030. As the United States produces 40% of its electricity from coal, the plan would have a significant impact on the American economy. It’s expected that 43 states would see double digit electricity rate increases, and costs for power plants and consumers would rise substantially.

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry frequently touted his energy policy stances during his 2012 bid for the Republican nomination, and he continues to do so as he looks ahead to the 2016 race. In 2012, the now-former governor focused prominently on the idea of energy independence, believing the United States should produce and consume its own energy rather than relying on foreign countries. Perry believes that energy policy is directly related to national security saying, “We need to talk plainly about the stakes… Energy is a weapon in the hands of an aggressor. America needs to have the largest arsenal.”  Not only focusing on his accomplishments as Governor of Texas, Perry praised the progress made by both Pennsylvania and Louisiana. During his tenure as Governor of Texas, Perry expanded the state’s energy production from fossil fuels and renewable energy. The state now produces 29% of all United States natural gas and also leads the nation in the production of oil with a refinery capacity of 5.1 million barrels per day. The Lone Star State produces 34% of its energy from coal, and under the proposed EPA regulations, the state would face an average increase in energy prices of 10%.

Rick Perry

(Conrad Schmidt/AP Images)

The longest serving governor in the state’s history, Perry’s tenure was also marked by a long period of job growth where the state created one third of the nation’s jobs, many coming from the energy industry. The former Texas Governor criticized the president for his energy policy while also focusing on the accomplishments of entrepreneurship and the economy of Texas, saying, “Today America leads the world in natural gas production… the energy rush has once again come to America and my home state is the epicenter of that.” Also during Perry’s tenure as Texas Governor, the state expanded its wind production, producing the largest amount of wind energy in the nation.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has also made energy a focus of his prospective 2016 Presidential campaign, previously writing for InsideSources on delivering affordable energy to American families and businesses. Jindal criticized the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, which would raise electricity prices an average of 16% over the period of 2020-2029. The EPA regulation, which he believes should be repealed, has a significant impact on the state that produces 21% of its electricity from coal. The state of Louisiana is the second largest refiner of crude oil only behind the neighboring state of Texas.

In his second term as Louisiana Governor, Jindal has been a forceful critic of President Obama, especially on energy issues. The Louisiana Governor focused much of his speech on highlighting what he views as federal overreach from the Obama administration saying “We are in the middle of an energy revolution that will restore our economy… Just the energy revolution alone can increase the median income by 7%.” Jindal has consistently criticized the President for his refusal to sign a bill allowing for the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline that was vetoed earlier this year. Jindal noted the significant energy reserves and technology advantages the United States has that he would seek to expand. “We have been blessed with an abundance of energy, not just recourses but technology here at home.” Jindal, like Perry, touted energy independence as a foreign policy objective.

Bobby Jindal

(Conrad Schmidt/AP Images)

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, the 2012 winner of the Iowa Republican Caucuses, appears on track to make energy a focus of a likely 2016 campaign just as he did in 2012. Santorum advocated his support for the Renewable Fuels Standard that is important to Iowa’s economy. Touting his heritage as the grandson of a coal miner, Santorum has frequently noted the importance of coal to his home state, as well as to Iowa and American energy production as a whole. After leaving the United States Senate, Santorum served as a consultant to an energy company. The former Senator told Iowans there is a “war on coal” in the United States waged by the EPA. Santorum focused his remarks on the price of energy and its effects on the working and middle class. “If you’re an average American…you spend 40% of your disposable income on energy… Let’s give small town America a chance.” His home state is the nation’s fourth largest coal producer that provides for 40% of all energy produced in the state, although it has become a large user and producer of natural gas. Nuclear power is also of unique importance as the resource provides 35% of the state’s power.

Rick Santorum

(Conrad Schmidt/AP Images)

Energy will be a 2016 issue that will allow candidates like Santorum, Jindal and Perry to display their breadth of knowledge and experience. The state of Iowa, home of the first-in-the-nation caucus, would be required by EPA policy to cut its emissions by 16% relative to the 2012 rate. The state would also see an increase in the average energy price by 15%. The Hawkeye State relies upon coal for 59% of its electricity; however, it is one of the foremost wind energy producing states with 25% of all electricity being produced by wind turbines. Through an appeal to the pocketbooks of Iowans, these three candidates look to distinguish themselves in a crowded field.

 


Spotlight on States: Coal Fuels Iowa

Iowa garners substantial political attention as the presidential election season’s first caucus state. The Hawkeye State, however, leads our nation in much more than caucuses. Iowa is also a leader in agriculture and manufacturing, and a key component fueling this success is coal-based electricity, which provides 59 percent of Iowa’s power.

Low-cost electricity from coal helps Iowa manufacturers employ 14 percent of the state’s workforce, ranking third in the nation for manufacturing employment. Iowa is also recognized as a top-three state for agricultural production, with farmers relying on coal-based electricity to power their equipment affordably and reliably.

Des Moines Skyline

Iowa has a lot to lose under the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, especially when it comes to the wide-ranging effects the plan will have on the state’s local industries. America’s Power will be in Des Moines on April 9 to discuss the potential economic impacts of EPA’s proposal and how this will shape the energy debate in the 2016 elections.

Explore our site to learn how EPA regulations will affect Iowa or your home state, learn more about our event in Iowa and participate in our upcoming energy conversation by using the hashtag #RoadTo2016.

 


Road to 2016: Informing the Energy Debate

America’s Power is partnering with InsideSources to host an energy policy discussion featuring Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, former Texas Governor Rick Perry, former Senator Rick Santorum and Iowa Congressman David Young on Thursday, April 9th in Des Moines, Iowa.

This inaugural event is the first in our “Road to 2016: Informing the Energy Debate” series, a set of discussions America’s Power will sponsor across the country on the effects Environmental Protection Agency regulations are having on states and how this debate will shape the political narrative in the year ahead.

The energy debate in the 2016 elections will be critically important. As it stands, EPA’s Clean Power Plan takes direct aim at coal-based electricity and will force states like Iowa to restructure how energy is produced. Replacing America’s most abundant and affordable fuel source with expensive and intermittent sources will increase electricity rates and reduce grid reliability, both in Iowa and across the country.

With such drastic changes to our electricity supply on the line, it’s time to bring the energy debate home.

Learn more about our event in Iowa and participate in the conversation by following America’s Power on Twitter or using the event hashtag #RoadTo2016.

 


America’s Power Energy Policy Event Series Launches in Arkansas

Last week, America’s Power kicked off our state policy event series with an exciting discussion on the future of energy in Arkansas. Held at the Clinton Presidential Library in downtown Little Rock, the event featured political and policy thought leaders, elected officials and members of the private sector community.

Mayor Tom Stodola provided opening remarks, highlighting Little Rock’s recent energy efficiency efforts and projects. Then, moderator Carl Cannon of RealClearPolitics took the stage with Congressman and U.S. Senate candidate Tom Cotton for a discussion about EPA’s carbon regulations and their potential impact on the state of Arkansas. During his remarks, Rep. Cotton emphasized the importance of coal and clean coal technology to Arkansas’ economy, noting the devastating impact EPA’s regulations would have on the state’s businesses and families.

Following Rep. Cotton’s address, a panel of experts discussed Arkansas energy policy, engaging in a lively debate on a range of issues. The event also included a question and answer period that featured a variety of viewpoints from our audience members.

I am looking forward to our next two events, which will be held in Charlotte, North Carolina on October 13 and Denver, Colorado later in the month. We have some great panelists lined up, and I hope that many of you will be able to join us! You can also follow the events on Twitter – we will be using the hashtag #RCPOnTheTrail and tweeting from @AmericasPower. Stay tuned for more details!

 

 


Join America’s Power by September 30th & Meet Dale Jr.

Can you believe September is already coming to a close? With the NASCAR season winding down, our contest to meet Dale Earnhardt Jr. at the Miami races this November is in its final days.

Dale Jr. is a business owner who understands the importance of affordable, reliable coal-fueled electricity to keep the lights on, meet payroll and continue growing and hiring at his company, JR Motorsports.

Check out this video of Dale Jr. and JR Motorsports co-owner Kelley Earnhardt Miller on the importance of affordable electricity:

We had another tremendous year partnering with JR Motorsports, and we’re excited to give our America’s Power supporters an opportunity to meet Dale Jr. in person. Visit www.AmericasPower.org/meet-dale before September 30th to enter to win an all-expense paid trip to meet Dale Jr. in Miami!

Buzzfeed Photo 5 - Meet Dale

 

And for everything you don’t know (but should know) about Dale Jr. and JR Motorsports, check out our recent article on BuzzFeed.


NASCAR Recap: Chicagoland Speedway

Joliet, Illinois is home to the Chicagoland Speedway, where the race track can be found among hundreds of acres of beautiful, Midwestern farmland. The America’s Power booth was in full swing during this weekend’s NASCAR races there, and since we weren’t ready to feel the effects of fall just yet, the sun came out for us to have a wonderful time and a great weekend of racing.

NASCAR Blog Photo 3_916

The action kicked off on Saturday with the Nationwide races, where we proudly cheered on the #7 Clean Coal car to a top ten finish. I spent the day at the America’s Power booth, which was positively overflowing with people wanting to learn more about the coal industry. Being able to interact with every visitor – hearing their stories or answering their questions about America’s Power – is by far my favorite aspect of working at our display. One supporter we met was excited to promote the use of coal with his America’s Power t-shirt, and was eager to wear it to his job as an electrical engineer.

NASCAR blog photo 1_916

While it’s bittersweet that Chicagoland was my last race of 2014, I’m grateful to have met so many of our supporters over the course of the year. It’s meaningful to hear directly from those affected by EPA’s carbon regulations and know that we are doing the right thing. Our EPA comment tool received more than 3,000 signatures from hardworking Americans just this weekend, and that is just the motivation I need to keep fighting for our coal communities.

NASCAR Blog Photo 2_916


America’s Power Team Heads to Illinois

Hi Behind the Plug readers! I recently joined ACCCE as senior director of communications, and I look forward to contributing to the Behind the Plug Blog. Here’s a short preview of what’s in store for us this weekend:

Today, the America’s Power team is heading to Joliet, Illinois for an exciting weekend of NASCAR racing at Chicagoland Speedway. We’re looking forward to cheering on Regan Smith, driver of the #7 Clean Coal Chevrolet in the NASCAR Nationwide series, and meeting other members of the America’s Power team from around the country.

At our booth, we’ll be talking to supporters about the importance of coal-based power to fuel electricity in our homes and businesses. Coal provides nearly 43 percent of Illinois’ electricity and accounts for close to 39,000 jobs. Affordable, reliable power is especially critical to Illinois’ economy, as the state serves as a manufacturing hub with nearly 580,000 workers – or 10 percent of the workforce – employed by the industry as of 2013. Keeping our energy costs low will allow these manufacturers to grow their businesses and hire even more workers throughout the state.

If you’re at the race, come find America’s Power in Champions Park, where Regan Smith will be meeting fans and signing autographs on Saturday September 13th at 10:00 AM CT. And if you’re not at Chicagoland Speedway but will be watching the NASCAR races this weekend, keep an eye out for Regan in the #7 Clean Coal Chevy rounding the track and (fingers crossed) racing to victory.

Orange Regan Smith and Car Macro


Another Type of Friday Night Lights: Bristol Recap

Last weekend, I made the drive to the southwest tip of the Virginia triangle to Bristol Motor Speedway. Dubbed the “world’s fastest half-mile,” Bristol looks pretty majestic when driving up from the country hills of Virginia and Eastern Tennessee. We hit the ground running on Friday morning at the track, which was much busier and more crowded than the last race I attended. Despite the heat, we had more than a thousand visitors stop by the America’s Power booth to learn about the proposed EPA regulations and their potential impact on our country. It was a rewarding experience to spread the word about the work we’re doing, and the ways people can join the fight. It was also wonderful meeting retired coal miners from our member companies as well as other members of the coal community and hearing their stories. One man, who described how much coal meant to him as a worker for the railroads, hugged me at the end of our conversation and said he was thankful that a group like ACCCE stood up for the little guys in the fight. Times like those reassure me that I’m in the right place, fighting for the right cause.

The Crowd in Bristol

During our busy afternoon, our driver Regan Smith and his pit crew came by our booth for an autograph signing. We had loud cheers in the tent as everyone was ecstatic to see the #2 driver in the Nationwide standings. Regan loves meeting his fans and they love him — we really are fortunate to have the best driver in NASCAR wear our colors proudly! Regan raced the #7 Breyer’s car that night, but it was great to see some of the pit crew walking around with our America’s Power t-shirts on before they had to change into their fire suits.

 

Regan Signing Autographs

7 Pit Crew

The half-mile track certainly proved to be the fastest lap I’ve ever seen. It also didn’t hurt that Dale Jr. was in our pit for the entire race! That was definitely a treat. Regan ended up finishing 5th, maintaining his position as #2 in the overall standings and currently trailing his teammate Chase Elliott by 13 points. I had such a great time meeting new people (and seeing them sport our apparel!), educating other on what we do and what we stand for, as well as staying for the race. Bristol was an absolutely fantastic experience, and I can’t wait to do it again at Chicagoland in three weeks!