Tag: Kerry-Boxer

Kerry-Boxer Minus Boxer Equals…

Washington Post Capitol Briefing blog, “Kerry, Graham, Lieberman announce a “dual track” on the climate bill“:

Even before a Senate committee could begin marking up the “Kerry-Boxer” climate bill, Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) himself announced a new “track” of negotiations over climate policy that makes his original bill look somewhat irrelevant.

Kerry, appearing at the U.S. Capitol with Sens. Lindsay O. Graham (R-S.C.) and Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.), said the three legislators would work with business groups and the White House to forge a compromise climate measure that could get 60 votes in the Senate.

Sen. Kerry, the Post reports, “said that the senators were not circumventing that committee’s process or ignoring the bill being marked up.” No? Would “repudiation” be a more accurate term?

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Slip, Slidin’ Away

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says health care vote may wait until 2010.

Senate leader Harry Reid, facing a handful of moderate Democrats who might not vote for a bill that contains the public option of a government-run program that liberals favor, said Tuesday that his chamber would “not be bound by any timelines.”

Politico, Climate change on the back burner?

Climate change has slipped so far down on the agenda that at least one key committee chairman has suggested it might have to wait until after the 2010 elections.

Because, you know, it gets much easier to legislate on these trillion-dollar, economy-restructuring bills during an election year.

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Contact the Imperial EPA about its Power Grab on C02 Emissions

Even as the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee mucks around procedurally with the Kerry-Boxer bill, the Environmental Protection Agency is marching ahead with proposed regulations to restrict carbon dioxide. As the NAM’s new EPA website — www. nam.org/epa — explains:

On September 30, 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its proposed “tailoring rule” and outlined its regulations for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from large industrial facilities. The EPA proposes to issue permits under its so-called “Prevention of Significant Deterioration” program, in which facilities such as manufacturing plants, power plants and refineries would be required to demonstrate they are using the best technologies to minimize GHG emissions.

This proposed rule is the EPA’s first step toward regulating carbon emissions from large stationary sources that emit more than 25,000 tons of CO2. It also allows the EPA to immediately begin considering lowering the threshold of GHG emissions at their discretion, further expanding the organization’s scope to regulate hospitals, libraries and even American homes. For a manufacturer, it could mean doing something as simple as adding a “plant shift” to the schedule would trigger EPA regulation.

As we’ve noted before, the EPA’s proposal is also a clear case of a regulatory agency trying to set policy by ignoring the statutory requirements for under the Clean Air Act, which is to apply to facilities emitting between 100-250 tons. Regulatory agencies don’t write the law.

The NAM’s website — www.nam.org/epa –includes a draft letter to the EPA, background materials, and a count-down to the deadline: 54 days and counting.

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Cap and Trade, Crash and Burn

Washington Post, page A1, “Climate bill faces hurdles in Senate“:

The climate-change bill that has been moving slowly through the Senate will face a stark political reality when it emerges for committee debate on Tuesday: With Democrats deeply divided on the issue, unless some Republican lawmakers risk the backlash for signing on to the legislation, there is almost no hope for passage.

Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) has scheduled a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee mark-up of S. 1733, for Tuesday morning. Republicans plan to boycott the session, demanding more substantive cost estimates before proceeding. As the committee’s GOP members said Friday:

The taxpayers expect us to know what this 1,000-page bill costs before we start voting on it. They will only know this if we have a full economic analysis of how Kerry-Boxer affects them. This bill threatens Americans with trillions of dollars in higher energy taxes and millions of lost jobs. Yet as EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson admitted this week, EPA has”‘not run the full economic modeling.” We cannot move forward in the legislative process if we don’t have a complete understanding of this bill.

The chairman’s mark of the 959-page Kerry-Boxer bill is available here.

Our favorite provision assigns great power but diffused accountability to the newly created Offsets Integrity Advisory Board, page 558:

‘‘PART D—OFFSETS
‘‘SEC. 731. OFFSETS INTEGRITY ADVISORY BOARD.
‘‘(a) ESTABLISHMENT.—Not later than 30 days after the date of enactment of this title, the President shall establish an independent Offsets Integrity Advisory Board. The Advisory Board shall make recommendations to the President for use in promulgating and revising regulations under this part, and for ensuring the overall environmental integrity of the programs established pursuant to those regulations.

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Virginia Manufacturers Testify on Kerry-Boxer

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee today held its second of three hearings on S. 1733, the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act, i.e., the Kerry-Boxer bill to restructure the U.S. economy through regulation, subsidy, taxation and more expensive energy.

Twenty-seven witnesses were scheduled to testify on four separate panels, which seems like too many really to pay close attention to.

Let us then highlight the testimony of Brett A. Vassey, President & CEO of the Virginia Manufacturers Association, an active member of the National Association of Manufacturers. We appreciated Vassey’s emphasis on Virginia in a global economic climate:

Federal Government Credit Allocation. This system allows elected political leaders to choose “winners and losers” in the economy. Waxman-Markey directs that every commercial user of energy would be given a certain number of carbon credits, permitting it to emit a specific amount of carbon each year. If a manufacturer exceeds its credits, it has to purchase extra credits from others who do not reach their cap. This system has too much risk for global manufacturers who are making decisions about their future capital investments today. Congress allocating credits is a critical decision because Virginia and other states will lose opportunities to compete and create jobs in the future as long as the threat of this allocation system exists in the public debate.

And …

Leakage. Proponents of “cap & trade” believe immediate regulation will force industry to stop using traditional sources of energy. Unfortunately, this position demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of global manufacturing today. The truth is “cap & trade” is just another tax on businesses and consumers – regressively so on manufacturing – and it does nothing to stop “leakage” to nations with more favorable conditions. For example, even if Virginia limited all of its CO2 emissions, China’s CO2 emissions growth alone would replace all of Virginia’s CO2 emissions in only 77 days. Virginia is .44% of the global GHG emissions.

See also Vassey’s Townhall column, “‘Cap’ Industrial Competitiveness and ‘Trade’ Domestic Manufacturing Jobs Abroad.

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Studies and Slurs on More Government Control over Emissions

Washington Post, “Economics of climate change in forefront,” reporting on conflicting analyses of the Kerry-Boxer bill.

Margo Thorning, chief economist at the conservative American Council for Capital Formation, criticized the June prediction for using a static economic model rather than a macroeconomic one, which would show how higher energy prices reverberate throughout the economy. She added that the assumption embedded in the EPA analysis that Boxer cited — a 150 percent increase in the number of nuclear plants by 2050 — was unrealistic.

But studies projecting large job losses are similarly based on data that have not been established. One by the American Council for Capital Formation and the National Association of Manufacturers found that up to 2.4 million jobs could be lost by 2030 in part because it assumed that only half as many carbon offsets would be available to keep energy prices lower. Another, by the Charles River Associates for the National Black Chamber of Commerce predicted a 2.2 million job loss by 2030 because of plugging in higher cost estimates for nuclear and geothermal energy projects. “There’s never a single, precise answer,” said Ken Ostrowski, a director at McKinsey and Co. who helped write the firm’s reports on the cost of cutting U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and improving energy efficiency.

“You have to deal with uncertainties like the speed at which the technology could be implemented.”

The NAM/ACCF study of the Waxman-Markey bill is here.

Analyses aside, one should also apply the test of common-sense to Kerry-Boxer/Waxman-Markey: Proponents wants to create scores of new federal government programs and regulatory regimes, including the establishment of an expansive and intrusive system of “cap and trade” to make energy more expensive. And that’s supposed to create jobs AND substantively address GLOBAL warming?

Elsewhere in the Post, columnist Dana Milbank maligns Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) for challenging the scientific consensus of global warming, which too often looks like an imposed political consensus. From “A senator in a hostile climate“:

It must be very lonely being the last flat-earther.

Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, committed climate-change denier, found himself in just such a position Tuesday morning as the Senate environment committee, on which he is the ranking Republican, took up legislation on global warming.

That’s just a slur, two slurs, in fact. “Flat-earther” is the equivalent of calling the Senator deluded and dumb. “Clime-change denier” is worse, tantamount to calling the Senator evil. Denier is the preferred term of those who want to stop informed debate of the science of global warming, an especially ugly choice of words because of its parallels to “Holocaust denier.”

The goal of this rhetoric is to delegitimize the speech involved in acknowledging the scientific and policy implications of the now decade-long temperature plateau. Or to bully into silence the increasing number of the public who doubt that global warming is man-made. These citizens, voters, taxpayers are either stupid or evil, so they better shut up.

Bad atmosphere in which to make good policy. Good atmosphere in which to make bad policy.

We find Senator Inhofe’s media webpage and especially his EPW Press Blog to be centers of intelligent policy discussions, informed by a healthy skepticism of analyses, claims and wild promises. Too bad some in the media prefer slurs to skepticism and squelching to speech.

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Waxman-Markey: Let’s At Least Be Straight About the Jobs

The Economist’s U.S. correspondent, who writes under the nom de plume of “Lexington,” is exasperated about the lack of straight talk from Congressional advocates for government limits on greenhouse gas emissions. Lexington believes in taking action, with the most straightforward way being a carbon tax. But, since the public regards taxes as bad, politicians “waffle and obfuscate” on energy policy.

From “The myth of green jobs“:

John Kerry, who is neither stupid nor ignorant, claims not to know what “cap and trade” means

And Barbara Boxer, asked what the government should do to create jobs, said we should pass an energy bill, ie, the cap and trade bill that dare not speak its name. This, she said, would “allow this economy to take off“.

For heaven’s sake. The point of putting a cap or a tax on carbon emissions is to curb carbon emissions, thereby saving the planet from cooking. It is not about creating jobs. It will certainly create some, but it will destroy plenty, too.

Both presidential candidates last year vigorously promoted the notion that halting climate change will not merely be painless but will actually provide a huge boost to the economy. Kevin Hassett explains why this is nonsense

If politicians insist on pretending that everything is a free lunch, they should not be surprised if a) many voters don’t believe them and b) the rest get angry when the bill arrives. 

The Senate bill sets a target of reducing C02 emissions by 20 percent from 2005 levels by 2020. The House bill set a target of a 17. The NAM and the American Council for Capital Formation analyzed the House bill, Waxman-Markey, and found the legislation would result in up to 2.4 million lost jobs, higher energy prices for businesses and consumers, and cumulative GDP losses of up to 3.1 trillion dollars over an 18-year period.

Yeah, for heaven’s sake.

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It’s the Kerry-Boxer Bill? Not Boxer-Kerry? Huh…

From The New York Times, Climate Wire, “Kerry Gives Dems Chance to Frame Climate Debate Around Security“:

John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) both say there is little to read into the fact that Kerry is listed as the lead sponsor of the global warming bill (pdf) the pair unveiled Wednesday.

But perceptions are another thing, and there are certainly reasons for why Kerry got top billing ahead of Boxer, the chairwoman of the committee with lead jurisdiction over the climate change agenda. The decision also leaves some observers asking who will be in charge moving forward.

Really a fascinating insider piece on the politics of climate change legislation, or rather, the authorship of climate change legislation.

One possible factor the reporter might have missed: Sen. Boxer is running for re-election in 2010, and her potential opponent, Republican state Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, supports expanded energy development and voted against the California global warming bill, AB 32. Former Vice President Al Gore has already sent a fundraising letter for Boxer attacking DeVore on climate change. So moving her to second billing might have some political calculations.

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