News Column

Guthrie: EPA Needs to Ease Up

July 31, 2012

Keith Lawrence

U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie told the Messenger-Inquirer's editorial board Monday that he doesn't want to live in "non-EPA world."

But the Bowling Green, Ky., Republican said he wants the Environmental Protection Agency to design regulations that can be met without major economic disruption.

"I've been to Mexico City and Beijing," Guthrie said. "I don't want to have to wear a mask when I go outside. But I want regulations that don't put companies out of business and cost my district $60,000-a-year jobs."

He said Big Rivers Electric Corp. is having to spend $283.5 million to upgrade pollution controls at a time when one of its main customers -- Century Aluminum -- is threatening to close, saying it needs lower utility costs.

Century workers make an average of around $60,000 a year, officials have said in recent weeks.

Century and Rio Tinto Alcan, another aluminum company, consume ?about 70 percent of Big Rivers electricity, Guthrie said. And rising rates, he said, could force both to close.

If aluminum companies flee the United States because of high power costs, Guthrie said, "it'll be done in Mexico or China where there are less pollution standards and there will be even more pollution in the air."

The EPA, he said, "is trying to push us off coal, but I don't see how we can have the lifestyles we want over the next 20 years without coal."

Owensboro, Guthrie said, "has a lot of 30-something entrepreneurs. That's good. We don't have that replacement group of entrepreneurs in Bowling Green."

He said the nation's debt is the biggest issue facing the country.

Businesses, Guthrie said, are frustrated with Washington because "nobody knows yet what the tax rate will be next year."

And he said the uncertainty over health care costs and what the new health care legislation will actually do when it fully takes effect in 2014 are also frustrating for businesses.

Source: (c)2012 the Messenger-Inquirer (Owensboro, Ky.) Distributed by MCT Information Services

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