SENATOR CHRISTOPHER S. BOND - OPENING STATEMENT
HEARING ON ENVIRONMENTAL AND ECONOMIC IMPACTS OF S. 556
Thursday, November 1, 2001, 9:30am - SD 406
Mr. Chairman, thank you for holding this hearing on the environmental effects of S. 556, the Clean Power Act of 2001. I believe that it is vital that we know the effects of this legislation as we consider how best to improve air quality.
Later today, this Committee will hold another hearing. The topic will be infrastructure security and economic recovery in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks.
In some ways, we will never recover from September 11th. The attacks left indelible scars on thousands of families from New York, Washington, and across the Nation.
Our Nation is also struggling in its recovery. We are a nation at war. A weak national economy shrunk last quarter and may very well be in recession. Companies are laying off tens of thousands of workers. Consumer confidence is at an all time low.
Our nation will recover from these trying times. We will come back better than ever. However, we as policymakers must do all we can
to help get the nation back on its feet and moving forward.
I am very troubled by the negative effects S. 556 would have on families, consumers and the economy. I do not believe that now is the time to put the parking break on an economy already at a stop.
According to independent experts, consumers would face skyrocketing energy costs under S.556. Families trying to heat their homes would face electricity prices 30 percent higher and natural gas wellhead prices 15 percent higher by 2007.
American consumers and businesses would spend an extra $40 to $60 billion on electricity. Total U.S. economic activity -
or GDP - would be reduced by almost $100 billion in 2007 alone.
I=m not an economist, but if the $75 to $100 billion we are talking about now is enough to stimulate the economy, then a $100 billion brake seems like it would bring the economy to a stop.
These numbers are not just empty talk, most directly they mean jobs. Reduction in coal demand would cost thousands of American coal workers their jobs. Expensive energy would threaten tens of thousands more jobs across the economy.
The American people cannot afford the costs of S. 556. American consumers, and America=s employers, need reliable, predictable and affordable energy to heat their homes and power their businesses.
Earlier this week I introduced a Concurrent Resolution, with the support of Sens. Crapo, Graham, Voinovich and Jeffords, commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Clean Water Act next year. Clean water, in our nations lakes and rivers, is a national commitment and a national treasure.
Clean air is also a national treasure. Every one of our families have treasures, in the form of children, who are especially vulnerable to air pollution. We all depend on clean air and I believe everyone here supports improving air quality.
We have a unique opportunity to significantly reduce air pollution from electric utilities. The administration, Congress, environmental and public health advocates all agree that we should significantly reduce air emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxides and mercury from electric power generators.
A comprehensive, market-based approach that reduces emissions would provide significant public health and environmental benefits.
It would also provide greater regulatory certainty and encourage plant owners to install new, cleaner and more energy efficient systems to produce power.
I believe that we need to achieve three clean air goals:
meet health-based clean air goals out of reach today,
provide regulatory certainty to industry which will encourage innovation and keep our energy supply secure, and
3) keep energy costs stable. S. 556 does not meet these goals.
I am willing to work hard to develop legislation that provides clean, affordable, reliable energy for American consumers and the American economy. I look forward to moving on to this effort as soon as possible.
DOE STUDY OF JEFFORDS= MULTI-POLLUTANT LEGISLATION
$ Consumers would immediately face skyrocketing energy costs - Average electricity prices for consumers would increase between 27 and 32 percent in 2007, and would remain high
(up 20 to 33 percent in 2020).
$ America=s Pocketbook would feel the hit - In 2007, consumers would be spending an extra $40 billion to $60 billion on electricity.
$ The price of natural gas would rise dramatically -
Average natural gas wellhead prices would increase 12 to 17 percent in 2007, and up to 20 percent in 2020.
$ The Jeffords/Lieberman bill is a recipe for recession -
Total U.S. economic activity - or GDP - would be reduced by $82 billion to $97 billion in 2007 alone.
$ Thousands of America=s workers would be out of work - Power plants would cut their use of coal by 40 to 45 percent, costing thousands of coal industry jobs. High energy costs would threaten tens of thousands of other jobs across the economy.