In an op-ed for The Christian Post, Atlanta-based Southern Christian Leadership Conference president and CEO Dr. Charles Steele, Jr. decried higher energy costs as worsening the quality of life for more vulnerable and lower income Americans.

In part, Steele said:

Energy costs are already on the rise, and they are projected to increase exponentially in the coming years. In fact, energy costs as a percentage of overall household income are rising at a higher and faster rate for low-income Americans. Dealing with these increased costs is just one part of the equation, as health and safety issues are part and parcel of the problem. People’s health conditions are impacted if they are forced to live without air conditioning or heat, or if meals are skipped just to foot the bill for energy.

Steele’s critique of higher costs comes following a year in which the Obama administration unveiled new EPA regulations that many have decried for raising costs and shuttering jobs, particularly in coal country.

“Others who stand behind the regulations seem to think we must make a choice between protecting our environment and protecting low-cost, reliable electricity,” Steele continued. “I believe we can achieve both, but not by pursuing radical rules that do little to affect the environment, yet bring so much pain to hard-working people who can least afford the price-tag.”