CLARION - U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-15) regards President Joe Biden's $2 trillion federal infrastructure and jobs package as "toxic."
Thompson said the proposal, which the president unveiled last week during a stop in Pittsburgh, is "nothing but higher taxes," contains "a lot of the Green New Deal" and it is "climate change on steroids."
Thompson, who serves as the Republican leader on the House Agricultural Committee, said he and other congressional Republicans already have been "leaning into" climate issues.
"We already have conservative climate solutions," he said. "The way farmers and ranchers operate today - using science and technology - we actually take more carbon out of the air than is emitted. It is really the opposite of what President Biden introduced."
Thompson said three of his priorities are actually, in theory, included in Biden's package: the orphan oil well bill, abandoned mine legislation and technical education.
According to Thompson, the orphan well bill would provide funding to "mom and pop" oil companies to cap orphan oil wells.
"This would help keep them in business and address a long-standing environmental issue," explained Thompson.
In regard to abandoned mines, Thompson said his district has more abandoned mine lands than all of the other 434 congressional districts put together, and that the president recognized "we need to invest in the work force."
Thompson, though, reiterated his disagreement with Biden over other parts of the package, saying the president "is making it toxic with so many other things he has put into (the plan)."
Thompson said the $2 billion included in the proposal for electric-charging stations doesn't factor in that in states like Pennsylvania electricity is produced at coal-fired generating plants.
"I don't know where they think electricity comes from," Thompson said. "If he (President Biden) is successful and the car companies and truck manufacturers pursue this, we would crash the electrical grid. We would see power outages similar to what we saw in Texas. Any massive increase in the use of electric vehicles is going to crash that grid."
On top of that, Thompson said, the high price of electric vehicles means most of his constituents can't afford them.
He also cited what he believes to be another problem with the conversion to electric vehicles.
"If the conversion to electric cars does proceed, the government will be looking at some way to replace the gasoline tax," Thompson said. "There is a proposal to tax number of vehicle miles traveled. I do not want government electronically tracking my mileage. That only works if you eliminate the gas tax."
Overall, Thompson said, there are parts of Biden's package he could back, "but with the Green New Deal and the crushing taxes, I just can't support it."