Tag: S. 1733

Pay No Attention to Senate EPW Vote to Restructure U.S. Economy

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Thursday voted out S. 1733, the Kerry-Boxer Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act.  The vote was 11-1, with Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) voting no and Republican committee members absent from the vote in protest. (Chairman Barbara Boxer’s statement.)

But pay no attention to the bill that the committee acted on, the 959 pages of vast economic reordering via a cap-and-trade regime, programs, subsidies, regulations, directives, mandates and government. The real action is with the Kerry-Lieberman-Graham closed-door negotiating among staffers and outside interests. Former Vice President Al Gore is counting on the work to “produce a consensus bill before Copenhagen.”

It’s such as a strange process, one that seems to thumb its nose at the public. From “Democrats move on emissions bill“:

Charles T. Drevna, president of the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association, said he does not understand why Democrats are choosing to refine the climate bill outside of the committee.

“I always thought that was the chore of the committee,” said Drevna, whose industry is receiving just 2.25 percent of free pollution allowances. “It’s frustrating to see for whatever reason — political expediency, the Copenhagen deadline — [the panel] pass something out that all realize has no chance of passage.”

If political expediency means doing what’s necessary to give legislation a marginally greater chance of passage, that’s a good choice. But Tuesday’s election results represented a rejection of bigger government, economic overreach and official hubris. And the response with these legislative parleys is to embrace bigger government, economic overreach and official hubris — but behind closed doors!

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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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Popping Hot Air Balloons at the Senate Cap-and-Trade Hearing

Iain Murray of the Competitive Enterprise Institute testified Thursday at the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s hearing on S. 1733, Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act, i.e., Kerry-Boxer. We commend his written statement about the proven failures of the European cap-and-trade regime, as well the issues involved with the developing world.

For an overview of his arguments and yesterday’s goings on at the Senate committee hearing, see Murray’s three posts at National Review Online’s The Corner blog:

I had two main points. The first, one that was comprehensively ignored by the Democrats on the Committee and the other witnesses, is that the only big example we have for a cap and trade program for greenhouse gases, the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), has been an expensive failure. Indeed, the vast cost — already far more than “a postage stamp a day” for European households — has been confirmed in a new report by my colleagues at the Taxpayers’ Alliance in London.

The ETS, the report finds, cost the EU economies as much as $171 billion in 2008. The cost to individual households in the U.K. was about $200. Moreover, climate change policies now account for 14 percent of the average household’s electricity bill and 21 percent of the average industrial electricity bill.

Murray also makes a few sharp observations about the protectionism stalking the committee debate.

The other main point in my testimony was that China, India, and the other developing nations will not accept any limitations on their emissions. The other panelists went to great lengths to pretend that this doesn’t really matter, but at the same time they all argued that all nations must accept binding emissions targets. For instance, they argued that Copenhagen must not be seen as Kyoto II. But China, India, and the G77 have stated firmly and without any room for argument that the Kyoto framework must continue: Developed nations must cut emissions while developing nations can take other actions, not requiring cuts in emissions. This is a circle that cannot be squared.

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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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