During a forum on energy policy hosted by RealClearPolitcs at the Clinton Presidential Center Thursday, U.S. Senate candidate Tom Cotton addressed a recent Environmental Protection Agency rule that calls for the nation to reduce its power plant carbon emissions 30 percent by 2030.
Cotton said the rule would severely limit the production of coal power plants in Arkansas, which gets about half of its energy from coal.
“We should be building more [coal plants] all around the country to take advantage of the coal resources that we have in this country. We should be building more nuclear facilities. We should be expanding exploration of natural gas because that would mean more natural gas lines would come on line as well.”
Cotton called the mix of coal, nuclear and gas as “market-based solutions.” He said that by reducing energy costs, both Arkansas and the rest of the country could attract more manufacturers. Critics of energy policies reliant on coal argue that the fossil fuel poses severe health risks through the release of Mercury and Particulate Matter and that more investment in renewable energy sources would lead to job growth.
Incumbent U.S. Senator Mark Pryor, whose seat Cotton is vying for in the November 4th election, has also been critical of the new EPA clean air rule.
Unlike Senator Pryor, Cotton says he would not have voted to confirm the current EPA secretary Regina McCarthy, whose administration is overseeing implementation of the new rule.
Cotton also spoke of his resistance to passing comprehensive legislation or so-called “omnibus bills.”
“I don’t think that’s a good or healthy tendency,” he said. “We have a lot of problems that we could address with specific, discreet, targeted legislation; Legislation that would be more easily understood by Arkansans, by all Americans, as opposed to bills like Obamacare which was 2,700 hundred pages.”
Cotton and Pryor also face Green Party nominee Mark Swaney and Libertarian Nathan LaFrance.