Energy & Environment

Make egg production more humane

In the United States there are 280 million egg-laying hens producing more than 80 billion table eggs annually. Eggs are a national commodity. For economic and regulatory security, our egg farmers need one national standard to bring order to the patchwork of state laws currently providing uneven rules for farmers producing this national commodity. 

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Clean coal has a role in our energy future

Natural gas prices recently plunged to their lowest level in more than a decade. Short-term, that’s good news for consumers and industry seeking respite from high energy prices. Long-term, belief in any single fuel source as America’s energy salvation undermines prudent public policy that encourages a diverse energy portfolio, including clean fuels and renewables.  We need an all-of-the-above approach supported by President Obama and Mitt Romney to meet our energy needs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

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Energy policy should not be about playing favorites

Nicholas Longworth served as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1925 to 1931. Longworth was known as a skilled compromiser, but he was in fact also an astute student of capitalism and the free market. In describing the “capitalistic system,” he captured the essence of government’s role as being that of an “umpire” to ensure fairness; not to “come down and take the bat” for one team. 

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Keystone has no place in Transportation Bill

Right now, a congressional conference committee is attempting to reconcile transportation bills passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives that could upgrade our crumbling infrastructure, save 1.9 million jobs, and create 1 million more. However, the bill remains in negotiations. House Republicans haven’t been able to reach an agreement on their own transportation bill –voting instead to temporarily extend the current one. They’re now bringing the same tactics that caused the House version to fail to the conference committee, complicating negotiations with extraneous issues, such as the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. This contentious add-on needlessly burdens negotiations and passage of the bill, but also reveals the depth of the Republican’s Keystone XL obsession.

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EPA's rules for new coal plants strike right balance

Colorado’s natural beauty draws visitors from around the world. Every day, we see the clear connection between the health of our citizens, the health of our environment, and the health of our economy. Unfortunately, national public debate is often dominated by the claim that we must choose between a clean environment and economic prosperity -- the idea being that protecting our environment will jeopardize U.S. businesses and job creation. Well, this simply isn’t true.
 
The EPA’s recently proposed carbon pollution standard shows how the correct balance can be struck. The new rule won’t just limit dangerous industrial carbon pollution from new power plants, it will encourage a market-based transition to a clean-energy economy, one that boosts investment and creates jobs nationwide.

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Weakening enforcement of energy-efficient lighting is a losing strategy

As the House again proposes barring enforcement of the current energy efficiency standards for lighting products, it puts American manufacturers and the public at risk of wasting money and losing jobs, while also tacitly encouraging the illegal import of noncompliant, energy-hogging products.
 
The law to phase in energy-saving lighting options, enacted in 2007, began taking effect this past January with standards requiring a minimum 27% increase in the efficiency of 100-watt bulbs. In the process of investing millions of dollars in producing a variety of such bulbs, American manufacturers have also been creating jobs for their design and production in Ohio, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, California and other states.

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Insecurity in unconventional oil

With North American oil production ramping up, many have rushed to the conclusion that the United States has newfound oil security. The dark days of dependence on the Middle East will soon be gone as new types of oil are found in abundance close to home. But these claims are more hype than reality.
 
The deeper we drill down, the more apparent it becomes that new domestic oil supplies cannot guarantee U.S. geopolitical and economic security. What’s more, the heterogeneous assortment of oils, if pursued absent cautious, deliberate guidelines, could cause collateral damage.

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The cost of being number one in mountaintop removal

As a retired underground coal miner from southeastern Kentucky, I have watched as many of my old retired coal mining friends have had to move away to places like Florida for their health.  Instead of relocating to Florida, I have traveled to Washington D.C. this week to try to protect the health of my grandchildren.

I live in Harlan County, Kentucky, which is represented by the chairman of the Appropriations Committee; Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.)  During his time in office, he has helped us get a number one rating. The Kentucky 5th Congressional District ranks first for mountaintop removal – more than 60% of mountaintop removal is here. But we remain last in nearly everything else.

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Responsible forest management is imperative

For two weeks, a massive fire has burned nearly 200,000 acres in the Gila Wilderness and National Forest. This blaze, known as the Whitewater-Baldy Complex Fire, began by a lightning strike, and is well on its way to becoming the worst fire in our state’s history.
 
We appreciate the heroic efforts of the more than 1,000 personnel battling this inferno. These heroes put their lives on the line to help others, and show us what it truly means to be a public servant.

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Preparing for the hurricane season

We once again find ourselves at the start of the Atlantic Hurricane season. Last year, Americans spanning the eastern seaboard experienced the impacts of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. Many communities in the northeast are still working to recover from those storms.
 
While the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting a “near normal” hurricane season this year, with a 70 percent chance of nine to 15 named storms, we have already seen two named storms before the season has even started. The time to prepare for hurricanes, or any natural disasters, is now.

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