Andy Receives Students First ENDORSEMENT

Columbus, Ohio – StudentsFirst, a bipartisan grassroots advocacy organization supporting common sense education reforms, today endorsed Rep. Andy Thompson in his bid for re-election as Representative of Ohio House District 95 this November. Rep. Thompson is a strong supporter of meaningful education reform, and will continue to fight tirelessly to ensure that Ohio students have access to the quality education they deserve – no matter their zip code.

“As the education reform movement continues to build momentum, it is vital that bold advocates like Rep. Andy Thompson be present in the Ohio General Assembly. Rep. Thompson has stood tall for our students, supporting common sense education reforms that will improve the quality of education for all kids,” said StudentsFirst Ohio State Director Greg Harris.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The WAR on COAL

House Committee Hearing Looks At “War On Coal”

WOUB Public Media NPR
By Bethany Venable and Fred Kight
Published Tue, Jul 31, 2012 12:59 pm Dateline

St. Clairsville, OH

Updated Wed, Aug 1, 2012 11:03 am

Pro-coal politicians converged on St. Clairsville Tuesday to bash President Obama for his, quote, “energy failures.”

The United States House Sub-committee field hearing drew the attention of about 50 people concerned with the future of coal in the region.

Congressman Bill Johnson, along with Representatives Jim Jordan of Ohio, Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania and David McKinley of West Virginia, convened the hearing.
 
All are Republicans.
 
It was called “the Green Agenda and the War on Coal” and criticized the Obama administration’s regulation of the energy source.
 
“It justifies our concern that this administration has a war on coal and they are determined to stop American from producing energy using coal,” says Johnson.
 
Johnson says the President is destroying jobs, driving up utility costs and making it harder for businesses to grow.
 
“You know, with unemployment having stayed above 8 percent for 41 consecutive months, it’s irresponsible for this administration to be going after an industry that provides thousands and thousands of jobs. So we’re going to keep fighting, that’s the next step,” said Johnson.
 
The hearing also took aim at the Environmental Protection Agency’s role in new coal rules.
 
Critics of coal contend burning it pollutes the air and contributes to climate change, but Johnson says the U.S. needs coal as an energy source.
 
“When you’re looking at, particularly, eastern and southeastern Ohio, that is so desperately needing a resurgence in manufacturing, how are we going to fuel that manufacturing growth when we cannot afford cost-affordable and available and reliable energy?” questioned Johnson.
 
Ohio State Representative Andy Thompson (R-Marietta) testified at the hearing and spoke at a press conference following the event.
 
He suggests something of a compromise can be reached for those who argue coal is harmful to the environment.
 
“Why don’t we invest in making coal as clean as we can? Technology does improve over time and if we’re ever going to achieve energy independence, we’re going to have to be able to avail ourselves to these energy sources that are abundant, inexpensive and reliable,” says Thompson.
 
Thompson represents Noble, Monroe and Guernsey counties, as well as parts of Washington and Muskingum counties.
 
He says some EPA policies could have a devastating impact on the region by eliminating jobs and creating an economic ripple effect.
 
He calls existing green energy sources, such as wind and solar power, too intermittent to serve the demands of the region and says storage of such power is a problem.
 
The hearing was chaired by Jim Jordan of Urbana and also attended by U.S. Representative David McKinley of West Virginia.
 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced new rules to limit carbon dioxide emissions, which scientists say contribute to climate change.
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The WAR on COAL

Testimony of The Honorable Andy Thompson
Ohio State Representative
Before the
House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs, Stimulus Oversight & Government Spending
Field Hearing
“The Green Agenda & the War on Coal: Perspectives from the Ohio Valley”
July 31, 2012

Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for inviting me to testify at this hearing. My name is Andy Thompson. I am in my first term representing Ohio’s 93 District in the State House of Representatives. The 93rd District currently includes the counties of Guernsey, Noble and Monroe, as well as portions of Washington and Muskingum Counties. Before being elected to the State Legislature, I served on the Marietta City Council for three terms, getting elected to my final term in 2009. I appreciate the opportunity to speak before you today about the impacts of the Obama Administration’s ill-advised energy and environmental policies and their impacts here in Ohio.

Today I would like to discuss:
1. The Administration’s war on Coal and the impact on coal jobs,
2. The impact on utility jobs and the greater coal communities,
3. What this means for manufacturing in Ohio, and
4. How this impacts our growing natural gas industry.

The War on Coal

This is coal country, and here in eastern Ohio we rely on coal not only for electricity, but also for good-paying jobs and a strong tax base to help provide critical services. Coal not only provides jobs for our miners, equipment operators and support personnel – it also provides many jobs in the surrounding communities where coal industry employees work and live. For example, a study from Pennsylvania State University has demonstrated that every direct coal mining job supports 11 other jobs in such areas as trucking, railroads and equipment suppliers, as well as local businesses such as restaurants, stores, and gas stations. Coal has been integral to the well-being of eastern Ohio’s communities for many, many years. When coal is doing well, we all do well. But unfortunately, coal is in a tough spot right now. Many of the environmental policies that the Obama Administration has undertaken in recent years have caused substantial hardship in our region, and I fear that this may only be the beginning.

Just last week, a major coal mine in my district announced that it was laying off 29 workers in direct response to several Obama Administration policies aimed at coal. Not too long before that, I learned of a surface mining company in Noble County that cannot get any new permits approved by the Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency. This company has mined almost all of its permitted property but now is considering shutting down operations because the government has not granted it new permits. These are just two of the many troubling examples that have been brought to my attention recently.

As every elected official knows, this is county fair season, and at every fair that I have been to, people have come up to me and expressed deep concerns about the War on Coal and what it means for our communities and for eastern Ohio. These people have spouses, brothers and uncles in the mining business and they are all scared for its future, and for their own. I hear about this more than any other issue. People in eastern Ohio are deeply concerned that the War on Coal is going to ruin their livelihoods, their families, and their communities.

There are a number of regulations being pursued by the Obama Administration and several of its agencies that seek to attack coal. It starts with permitting, where several Administration efforts are making it increasingly difficult to get new coal mines permitted. From scaling back general permits to retroactively vetoing permits for mines that are already operating, these permitting reforms are a major obstacle to developing our coal resources. When it comes to mining, there are two major proposals being pushed by the Obama Administration that will have an enormous adverse impact: the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s Respirable Mine Dust Regulation and the Office of Surface Mining’s rewrite of the Stream Buffer Zone Rule. These proposals will essentially make it too expensive for coal producers to continue mining mainly because they will not be able to comply with new federal standards that are unachievable and cost-prohibitive. On the issue of burning coal to generate electricity, one need look no further than the EPA, which in the last year finalized two regulations that are already forcing the shutdown of coal-fired power plants in our state. Those regulations are EPA’s Utility MACT Rule and the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule. I will provide additional examples, details and statistics on these rules later in my testimony, but for now I will say that these proposals are going to shut down an enormous percentage of coal-fired generation here in Ohio and across the country.

Impacts to Utilities and Communities

When you hear about layoffs in the coal industry you generally think about coal miners and others who work at a mine, and that is understandable because they are the first ones to lose their jobs and their livelihoods when a coal mine gets shut down. But we also need to be thinking about what is going to happen to people who work at the coal-fired facilities that are being shut down. Those layoffs are starting to happen right here in Ohio. For example:

• AEP will shut down five units at the Muskingum River in Beverly, costing 128 jobs.
• AEP will shut down one unit at the Conesville Generating Station, impacting 20 jobs.
• AEP will shut down one unit for nine months annually at its Picaway plant near Lockbourne, costing 24 jobs.
• Duke will shut down one of its generating units at its Beckjord Station in New Richmond, Ohio, impacting 120 jobs.
• First Energy will close units at its Bayshore, Eastlake, Lakeshore and Ashtabula locations, jeopardizing up to 530 jobs.
• GenOn will shut two units at its Avon Lake plan, losing 80 jobs.
• GenOn will shut two units at its Niles plan, impacting 40 jobs.

But Ohio alone will not be the only state in our region to feel the effects from the War on Coal. Two facilities are slated to shut their doors on the other side of the border in Pennsylvania, and three are going to shut down across the river in West Virginia. When you add in the job losses in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, we are talking about nearly 9,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs in the Ohio Valley.

I would like to explore this and its impacts a little further, Mr. Chairman. Unfortunately, Ohio offers a very good case study of what happens when an industry comes under attack and what happens to the many people and communities that rely on that industry for direct and indirect jobs. On the opposite end of the state, in northern Ohio on Lake Erie, is a town called Avon Lake. It is a community of 23,000 residents roughly twenty miles from Cleveland. On February 29th of this year, a large utility announced that it would close its coal and oil-fired generating facility in Avon Lake in 2015. As is the case with many of these utilities, the operator made clear that the facility could not comply with the rising costs of EPA’s air regulations and that it would simply be too expensive to comply and keep the facility open. 80 direct employees will lose their jobs once the facility is closed, and these are high-paying, high-skilled jobs. But that is not the only impact. There will be enormous, real-world ripple effects in Avon Lake. For example, closure of the facility will cost the city over $77,000 in income taxes and at least $268,000 in property taxes annually. These losses will impact the normal functions of government but they will go deeper than that: Avon Lake EMS will lose about $50,000 annually, which is about a 50 percent reduction in its budget. That will impact critical medical programs like ambulance maintenance and repair, training and education of paramedics, and so on.

Avon Lake is only one example, but this is what we are looking at across Ohio if the Administration does not change course. Layoffs at the closed plants will be the beginning, but the ripple effects will hit everything from EMS to schools to the local road departments and municipal park systems. As many of you here today know, Ohio has some large cities but we have many, many small towns that will often times rely on one or a handful of facilities, whether it is a coal plant or a steel plant or a chemical facility. When those facilities shut their doors, everybody is affected. People leave town and go elsewhere looking for work. What is happening in Avon Lake is tragic, but it will be more tragic if it happens again, somewhere else.

What It Means for Manufacturing

Ohio is a manufacturing state, and it always has been. Our manufacturing base has taken a hit in recent years but we are adapting to a new economy and pursuing new opportunities. Ohio remains a very strong state for manufacturing. The energy boom in the Midwest has provided many opportunities that Ohioans are excited to pursue, but those opportunities are running head on into the Obama Administration’s environmental policies. Let me provide a key example: The largest manufacturer in Ohio is Ormet Corporation in Monroe County, which is an aluminum producer. The Company’s aluminum smelter, located in Hannibal, Ohio, is capable of producing 270,000 tons of aluminum per year. The company sells its aluminum to aluminum rolling mills, which make flat rolled products that are used to make beverage cans, transportation, construction, appliance and other general industrial applications. Ormet had employed roughly 1,100 employees with more than 900 represented by the United Steelworkers Union, but the company just announced that it was laying off 90 – 100 of them due to concerns about increasing electricity prices. We are going to continue seeing this at other manufacturing facilities, both large and small, all across Ohio.

The Prospects for Natural Gas

Mr. Chairman, coal is not the only industry taking the brunt of this Administration’s destructive environmental policies. Unfortunately, despite the unprecedented boom in natural gas production in our state, environmentalists and the Obama Administration are also starting to turn a negative eye to natural gas. Before describing these attacks, I would like to speak a little about shale gas industry in Ohio.

I happen to represent the largest shale play in the United States, known as the Marcellus Shale Formation. The Energy Information Administration estimates that the Marcellus Shale formation in the Eastern United States contains approximately 140 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Because of our coal and natural gas resources the Ohio River Valley should be the energy capital of America. We recently formed the Ohio Shale Coalition, which seeks to bring the attention of the world to the opportunities for shale gas development in Ohio. The Coalition is a diverse, statewide partnership that wants to maximize the opportunities provided by shale gas in our state, including economic development organizations, local chambers of commerce and individual businesses. I also want to make note of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s recent creation of the “Shale Works for US” campaign, which is a grassroots effort pushing for policies that will foster shale development, which will include fighting some of these unnecessary regulations that can only harm the potential of shale gas in Ohio and other states. These efforts are working, as people are paying more and more attention to the manufacturing opportunities in Ohio. Steel producers are making investments in Ohio and towns like Youngstown and Steubenville are experiencing low unemployment thanks to this energy boom. Shale gas can be a game charger for Ohio and for the country and it can play a pivotal role in rejuvenating American manufacturing, but the government needs to be a willing partner.

But unfortunately, it looks increasingly likely that the Administration and environmentalists are turning their attention to natural gas. I am sure that everyone here knows about the “Beyond Coal” campaign run by the Sierra Club. Now, they are beginning a “Beyond Natural Gas” campaign, which will attempt to shed the same negative light on the natural gas industry that it did on the coal industry. And the Obama Administration is not far behind. For example, the EPA recently released a draft guidance document for regulating the use of diesel in hydraulic fracturing operations under the Clean Water Act. The EPA is also starting to conduct inspections of hydraulic fracturing operations under authorities that it has seldom used in the past, such as the oil spill prevention provisions of the Clean Water Act. I would also be hard-pressed to name a day of the week when the EPA is not conducting yet another investigation into possible groundwater contamination from hydraulic fracturing and coming up empty-handed. Most troubling is their announcement that they will issue new fracturing regulations at the end of this year, coincidently after the election.

What Are the National Costs of the War on Coal?

There are many questions at the end of the day about the Obama Administration’s policies towards the coal and natural gas industries, but what people really want to know is how much this is going to cost. What will it cost our coal miners, our utility plant worker, our communities and our consumers? Furthermore, what will it cost our larger economy nationwide and what will the impacts be? National Economic Research Associates has done some outstanding research on these very questions, and here are the troubling facts that I can share with you, Mr. Chairman. NERA analyzed four EPA rules including CSAPR and Utility MACT and found the following:

• Regions of the U.S. covering all or part of 30 states will see peak-year increases in retail electricity prices ranging from ten percent to 19 percent. It also expects natural gas prices to increase by 14 percent in 2013. When electricity prices increase, you obviously have less disposable personal income available that can be spent on other things, and NERA projects these rules to result in a cumulative loss of $222 billion by 2020. That means that the average U.S. family will lose $270 per year in disposable income, or $1,750 by 2020.

• Costs for the electric sector to comply with the four rules are projected to be $21 billion per year, which includes $104 billion (present value) in capital spending.

•Nationwide net employment losses will total 1.65 million jobs per year by 2020, averaging 183,000 jobs lost per year.

• Natural gas use for electric power generation will rise, causing natural gas prices to rise, residential, commercial and industrial consumers will spend $8 billion more per year for natural gas, totaling $52 billion (present value) by 2020.

Mr. Chairman, the most effective way to understand what these regulations will mean for the coal industry and the country is to consider the cumulative impact of all of them. Unfortunately, at a policy level, the EPA has not done and appears unlikely to do a cumulative analysis to consider what the total costs of these regulations, when combined, will be. But at the human level, we are already seeing substantial negative impacts resulting from these regulations. Coal plants and coal mines are shutting their doors, leaving hard-working Americans out of work and driving up electricity prices, requiring working families to spend more of their hard-earned money on their electricity bills than they have in the past. The Obama Administration’s War on Coal is a tragedy for the coal industry and the thousands of Americans who rely on coal to provide affordable electricity. But I also fear that the great opportunities for Ohio and the rest of the country, thanks to the shale gas revolution, may be in jeopardy because the War on Coal is not going to be restricted to coal – it is going to be used to go after any and all fossil fuels no matter how beneficial they are to our communities and the rejuvenation of American manufacturing.

Conclusion

Mr. Chairman, this country was, quite literally, built on the back of the American coal miner. From the light switch to the IPad, the availability of inexpensive, abundant American coal has played an integral role in making America the wealthiest, most productive country on earth. Coal helped produce the steel that built our cities and powered the trains that brought that steel to market. Coal has always been, and continues to be, a staple of American life, especially here in Ohio. Manufacturing in America and Ohio has hit some rough times over the last several decades, but we have an opportunity to bring it back and that can happen right here in Ohio. Ohio can be once again at the center of an American industrial revolution, and as I mentioned earlier in my statement, communities across Ohio are seeing economic opportunities that we have not seen in a very long time. But we are at a critical juncture. If we continue to work together to implement energy policies that create jobs, Ohio can lead the way for this country. We are currently not on that path. To the contrary, the Obama Administration has embarked on an energy policy that is crippling an industry, discouraging innovation and putting people out of work. I sincerely hope that the Administration changes, but it is more likely that we will need to change administrations to save the coal industry and set our energy policy right once again.

I want to thank you and your colleagues in the House, Mr. Chairman, for conducting this much-needed oversight of the Obama Administration. I also very much appreciate all of your efforts with Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader Cantor and others to pass several bills promoting energy development and reigning in the EPA and this Administration. I just wish that the United States Senate and the President of the United States would follow suit. I should also note, Mr. Chairman, that I am doing my best here in Ohio to support those efforts. Specifically, I have sponsored two separate resolutions in the legislature urging the president to suspend both Utility MACT and CSAPR. I also got passed a resolution in the House of Representatives that urges the president to reconsider proposals to increase taxes on producers of coal, natural gas, and petroleum and instead adopt policies that encourage domestic production of these important resources.

Thank you again, Mr. Chairman for inviting me to testify today. I would be pleased to answer any of your questions.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ohio Right to Life ENDORSES ANDY THOMPSON

Once again, Representative Andy Thompson has been endorsed by Ohio Right to Life for his continued commitment to protecting the rights of the unborn child. Representative Thompson was a cosponsor of the recent H.B. 125 known as the “Heartbeat Bill” making an abortion illegal if there is a detectable heartbeat. This legislation will do a great deal of good in the fight to end abortions in the United States once it is passed by the Ohio Senate. As the law stands now, an abortion is legal until the third trimester of a pregnancy. By that stage in the baby’s development, it is fully formed and will have been able to feel pain for quite some time. This practice is abominable and is tantamount to murder. Representative Thompson has been a leader in the Ohio House of Representatives in the fight for the sanctity of human life, which is further demonstrated by his primary sponsorship of H.B. 171: a bill to forbid human cloning and the production of human-animal hybrids. This bill is now law. Not only is Andy Thompson concerned with protecting the lives of the unborn, but he is also committed to protecting the dignity of human life by spearheading legislation that prohibits doctors and scientists from mutating a human embryo. For these reasons, Ohio Right to Life is proud to endorse Representative Andy Thompson for a second time.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

National Federation of Independent Business ENDORSES ANDY THOMPSON

Once again, the leading advocate for small and independent businesses in the country had endorsed Rep. Andy Thompson in his bid to win reelection in 2012. To view the endorsement, click on the link below.

NFIB Endorsement

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Rep. Andy Thompson’s Reaction to SCOTUS Decision

Today the Supreme Court of the United States has delivered a devastating blow to all of us who believe in freedom, private property, small government, and the Constitution. The court’s decision to uphold Obamacare and more precisely, the individual mandate provision, will cause continued turmoil in the business community and increasing fear for job-creators. The court has determined that the individual mandate penalty is a tax, despite the desperate cries by the Obama administration and the congressional Democratic leadership that it was most certainly NOT a tax! It was always a tax although they couldn’t sell it as such, and now the largest tax hike in the history of the world is a reality.
It is now more important than ever to recognize that ELECTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES.

It matters whom we elect as president.
It matters whom we elect to the Senate.
It matters whom we elect to the House.

Fellow Ohioans, join me, please, in a last opportunity to repeal Obamacare by sending a cadre of Conservatives to Washington. If they do nothing other than undo everything the current adminstration has done, Ohio and all of these United States will recover and prosper. If we do not succeed in this endeavor, I fear we will soon cross an invisible line beyond which we may no longer recognize our republic.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Campaign 2012

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dear Friends,

I’m Andy Thompson. I have been proud to serve the people of Southeast Ohio these past two years as your State Representative and I look forward to the new challenges facing our corner of the state as we ramp up the 2012 campaign season. My district has changed and, if elected, I will represent a slightly different part of our state: Noble, Carroll, and Harrison Counties as well as parts of Washington and Belmont Counties.

We have accomplished many positive things these past two years, including passing a responsible budget that did not count on a federal bailout and did not raise taxes; ending the death tax; reforming burdensome regulations for small business owners; and strengthening 2nd amendment rights in Ohio. I proudly co-sponsored the Heartbeat Bill and sincerely hope the Senate will pass this measure as soon as possible.

Your General Assembly also replenished the Rainy Day Fund, which formerly contained $.89, and now has more than $200 million in it. Ohio continues to outpace the federal government in turning its economy around, thanks in no small part to the tremendous amount of investment coming into our area from major oil companies. The governor continues to pound the pavement regarding his proposed severance tax hike, disregarding the impact it will have on farm families, economic development, and other prospective business investment. I will continue to oppose such proposals.

In short, the Ohio House “is in order” but we have more to accomplish. I have been blessed to work with a fabulous team of Conservatives in the House. I look forward to the next two years which will be crucial for the oil and gas development of Southeast Ohio and the prosperity our natural resources will continue to yield for all Ohioans.

Thank you for your support!

Sincerely,

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hard At Work

Sorry to have kept everyone waiting for new posts. The last two months have been challenging, fascinating, invigorating. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to serve at this critical juncture for our state. I’ve gotten acquainted with my fellow legislators on both sides of the aisle, gotten my committee assignments, and have “gotten up to speed,” with the rhythm of the process.

What has surprised me thus far? The volume of meetings and material is pretty significant. The volatile nature of the debate doesn’t surprise me given the serious nature of what we’re doing, but it is very intense. We’re not just grinding things out. We’re conscious of this historic moment and our caucus and our party want to do our best to right Ohio’s ship. We have a very conservative group in the statehouse, and I’m proud to call many of them my friends, close friends at that. I have great faith in our speaker, Rep. Bill Batchelder, and the team he’s assembled to support our efforts. We won’t let our supporters down, nor will we let the taxpayers of this state down.

Last week I briefed several business leaders in Belpre; last night I attended a “Friends of the NRA” banquet outside Marietta, and today I had a briefing with our regional  Educational Service Center, several superintendents from schools in my district, at least one principal, a Ohio Department of Education official, and several others. I shared highlights of House Bill 30, which strips several unfunded mandates that were passed under Governor Strickland, in order to grant greater discretion and flexibility to local school districts. Funding remains a concern, and things don’t look to improve immediately. But we need to hold the line until Ohio’s economy turns around. And that will take more restructuring of the way Ohio does business. We’re working to make that happen too, I assure you.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Merry Christmas!

We are a few short days away from celebrating Christmas and I want to wish everyone in our district a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Even for nonbelievers this is a joyous time of the year; it is especially meaningful for those of us who do believe, and I’m not speaking of believing in Santa Claus! Christ’s birth is a blessing that is the highlight of Advent, but even more so provides a real focus to our holiday celebrations. It’s not about the iPad or big screen television; it’s about the capacity to transform the world in a loving way from a manger in a humble stable. The most powerful force in the world arrived in a very helpless state; this was just the first of many miracles in a life that was filled with them. I wish you and your family a joyous Christmas season and pray that the new year will be filled with that same spirit of hope and joy.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment