ST. MARYS — Access to safe, clean, cheap energy will drive the U.S. economy, legislators told a crowd Tuesday at Midwest Electric’s annual member breakfast.
U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana; U.S. Rep. Bob Latta, R-Bowling Green; Ohio Senate President Keith Faber, R-Celina; Ohio Rep. Matt Huffman, R-Lima; and Ohio Rep. Jim Buchy, R-Greenville spoke at the co-op Owners for Political Action meeting.
Midwest Electric has 700 members who belong to the PAC; more than 200 attended the breakfast.
Latta, who sits on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said he is concerned about the Obama administration’s executive orders on environmental regulation in the absence of legislation. Latta said over-regulation of coal plants causes them to close and prices to increase, resulting in a slower economy.
“If we don’t have power, we’re not working,” Latta said.
Jordan thanked the crowd for its political action in opposing efforts to regulate greenhouse gases.
“But for your efforts, cap and trade would be the law of the land today,” Jordan said.
Two people in the crowd asked legislators about drilling for oil and natural gas in eastern Ohio and expressed concerns about earthquakes and contamination of ground water. Legislators said they have laws in place to ensure the drilling is done safely and doesn’t harm the environment. The lawmakers said drilling is leading to strong economic growth in places of Ohio.
“Hotel owners, restaurant owners, landowners, ask them, 'Is fracking a good thing?' Oh yeah,” Huffman said. “For the first time, they’re able to do a lot of things they were not able to because of the economic boom.”