I believe the Bush Administration has it just right -- to maintain our economic health, we must have a dependable energy policy. We need an energy policy that makes the best use of both coal and natural gas. We are a long way from a point where a majority of our energy supply is not from these two fuel sources. So, we need to focus on coal and natural gas now.
Many utilities have refused to invest in new coal-fired generation plants because of the regulatory barriers they have to scale. These are the reasons we have to revisit and sometimes recall regulations for a short period of time. Coal is our main fuel for electricity generation, and we need to be able to produce this type of power in an economically sound manner.
Another set of regulations to reduce the sulfur content in diesel fuel will have unintended consequences too. Trucks today run on diesel, not wind or solar power. Everything we buy to eat and wear comes on a truck. If the trucks stop rolling, this nation stops rolling. Over 95% of all commercial manufacturing goods and agricultural products are shipped by truck at some point. 9.6 million people have jobs directly or indirectly related to trucking.
In addition, trucking contributes over 5% of America's gross domestic product.
Also, several federal hydroelectric dams are constrained by Endangered Species Act restrictions. Some of the restrictions are needed, but we have to consider any possible way to reverse our current energy trends, even if that means revisiting some of the regulations.
Many will say that we are sacrificing the environment for energy, but that is not the case. Strict regulations and standards have been set for sulfur dioxide which causes acid rain and nitrogen oxide which causes smog. But, when one regulation was not put forth to limit emissions of carbon dioxide, many started to say that the Bush Administration was attacking the which is just plain wrong. environment,
Caps on carbon dioxide would be so expensive that coal fired generation plants, which now provide over half the nation's electric power, could be forced to shut down. This would further strain our electricity grids and put the entire country into a position where rolling blackouts would be common, which we cannot allow to happen. We need to revisit which ever regulations need to be looked at. No one is going to take away a regulation on a whim; there is always a reason. And the main reason is to get our nation out of this energy crisis. Then once we get a hold of the crisis and we are not in immediate danger of repeating it, we can revisit the regulations again.
I ask Unanimous Consent that a white paper written by the Assistant Director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, entitled "The Impact of Environmental Regulations on Hydropower Generation," be included in the Record. This document gives a good view of how some regulations are affecting hydropower in my home state of Colorado.
I will have some questions that I would like the witnesses to address so that we can further explore this issue during the time for questions.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.
Holsinger White Paper