of Senator James Jeffords
Benefits and Costs of Multi-pollutant Legislation
June 12, 2002
††††††††††† The hearing will come to order.† Today, we will take another look at the benefits and costs of multi‑pollutant legislation and the Clean Power Act.† This is a busy morning in the Senate and we have many witnesses, so Iíll ask that everyone try to keep their opening statements to five minutes.† That will give us plenty of time for questions.
††††††††††† So far in this Congress, the Committee and Subcommittee leaders have tried twice to reach an agreement on principles for action on multi‑pollutant legislation.† Both times, policy announcements by the White House interrupted that process.
††††††††††† But, we canít afford to let the momentum die there without further action.† This is too important to the publicís health and the health of the planet.
††††††††††† Given the testimony that the Committee has received at many hearings on the problems of acid rain, mercury contamination, global warming and ozone pollution, it is our responsibility to act and our duty to lead.† There is no time for delay.
††††††††††† Working together, we can move a strong 4 pollutant bill through the Committee and the Senate this year.† Unfortunately, there appears to be little interest in quickly moving any kind of multi‑pollutant legislation in the House.† And, we are still waiting for the Administrationís legislative proposal on its 3P approach.
††††††††††† So, to maintain some momentum on this critical issue, and without any counter‑proposal to the Clean Power Act which could make for fruitful discussion, the Committee will proceed to markup S.556 at the end of this month.†††
††††††††††† The leaves us with about 40 or less working days in the Senate to get it done.† I am an optimist, so I donít think weíll need a lame duck session to finish it up.† At least I hope not.††
††††††††††† In January of last year, EPA give information to the Committee about the costs of a bill similar to the Clean Power Act.† That estimate included a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) similar to whatís now in the Senateís Energy bill.†
††††††††††† EPA came up with a $14.5 billion incremental cost above business as usual, and conservative benefits of $75 billion annually.† The cost due to the RPS was about $3 billion.† EPA said that a comprehensive approach covering all four pollutants would cost approximately $11.5 billion in 2010.† Addressing them in piecemeal fashion would cost closer to $16 billion annually.
††††††††††† People may question these numbers, as they do all modelling excercises.† But, I use them just to show that there is one or more scenarios in which a 4 pollutant bill costs less than dealing with each pollutant independently.† Some advise† taking that less efficient route and dealing with 3 pollutants now, saving carbon dioxide for later action.††
†† †††††††† But, there is no perfect way to predict how the future of technology will unfold.† Utilities did a far more cost‑effective job in reducing sulfur dioxide under the 1990 Amendments than anyone expected.
††††††††††† That happened because Congress changed the investment dynamic and the future.† That is what we must do with this legislation.†
††††††††††† It wasnít in our national interest in 1990, to let acid rain and its health‑threatening precursors rise unchecked.† Now, it isnít in our national interest to let carbon dioxide emissions rise 43% by 2020, as projected in the Administrationís Climate Action Report.† The potential consequences are just too serious.† Some cost estimates are $100‑300 billion annually in 2060.††
††††††††††† We have an opportunity to change the future.† Our actions on this matter can positively affect investment for decades to come.† Plants built to the performance standards that we set out in this legislation will last for more than 40 years, if the current fleet is any indication.† We canít afford not to be ambitious.
††††††††††† I am pleased to welcome Congressman Kucinich of Ohio, who has requested to testify and we will hear from him as our first witness.
††††††††††† And now, Iíd like to recognize Senators who wish to make a brief statement.