Christine Harbin Hanson

This past week the Environmental Protection Agency held a series of regional hearings throughout the country—in Denver, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, and Washington. EPA representatives heard from the public about the job-killing rules on power plants it proposed in June, which would force states to impose draconian restrictions on carbon emissions by 2030.

Although the regional hearings drew many high-profile speakers including members of Congress and state governors, what was more remarkable was the high number of everyday Americans that testified. People at the grassroots level are increasingly concerned about what the new rules will mean for their wallets and their well-being. Hundreds of Americans for Prosperity activists and our coalition partners, together representing millions of Americans, rallied in the shadow of the Colorado state house in Denver and on the steps of the EPA building in Atlanta. Together, Americans called on President Obama's EPA to stop its power grab.

Many were coal miners, concerned that regulations will cause energy production — as well as the jobs that they support — to go overseas to countries like China that do not enforce these rules. Many miners drove long distances in order to weigh in, from states as far away as Wyoming and Arizona.

Others focused on how this rule would impact economic growth. A representative from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) talked about how small businesses are hard-pressed to shoulder higher energy costs during these lean times. Hotel owners also rallied, concerned that this proposed rule would reduce visitors to mining towns and hurt the local economy.

Federal overreach by the Obama administration is nothing new. But when it comes to the President’s EPA agenda, the President says he has no problem going around Congress and disregarding the will of the people to force greater burdens on the American middle class. In fact, the EPA would unilaterally decide which states will get hit hardest by the power plant rules.

We heard concerns from families, too. In Denver, a single mom took the podium. She said that the EPA’s proposal would mean bigger electricity bills and a tighter family budget – a simple concept, but one that politicians and bureaucrats seem to have difficulty comprehending. Everything from putting gas in the car to buying groceries could become harder.


Christine Harbin Hanson

Christine Harbin Hanson is the federal affairs manager at Americans for Prosperity, a nationwide grassroots organization. Follow her on Twitter at @HarbinHanson.