O P E N I N G S T A T E M E N T
Senator George Voinovich
Hearing on the Cost/Benefit of Multi-Emissions
Wednesday June 12, 2002
Mr. Chairman, thank you for holding this additional hearing on multi-emissions. I am glad that we are having some of the witnesses I have requested in the past, specifically a representative of the chemical industry and an advocate for low-income housing. I still believe we need to hear from public power and the electric Coops before the Committee attempts to move legislation.
The Jeffords/Lieberman Bill as drafted will have a greater cost impact on Coops and municipal power than the investor-owned utilities. I understand from the Public Power Association that those cities who generate their own power will have a very difficult, if not impossible time complying with S. 556. As the former head of a muni, Cleveland Power, I know firsthand the problems that they have.
It is my understanding that the Chairman has announced a markup of S. 556 for later this month. As we look today at the costs and benefits of the Jefffords/Lieberman Bill, it is important to keep a few points in mind:
1) Not a single utility in this country supports the Jeffords/Lieberman Bill as drafted.
2) Under S.556, coal use would be cut in half, decimating the manufacturing economy of the Midwest, and therefore the country. (Midwest is responsible for 23% of U.S. manufacturing) In fact, when you compare Ohio’s manufacturing production with the New England states, Ohio’s GSP for manufacturing is higher than all six of the New England States combined. (93.4 billion for Ohio, compared to 83.8 billion for all of New England.) If you want to put us out of business, the jobs that we will lose will not go to other States, they will go overseas.
3) The Jeffords/Lieberman Bill will decrease the U.S. GDP by $75 billion by 2010. This is according to data by the Edison Electric Institute, which is very similar to data calculated by the Energy Information Administration at DOE.
4) The cost estimates we have for S.556 are not even complete. They do not include the so-called “birthday provision” which requires all facilities over 30-years old to install the latest control technology. It is my understanding that 80% of our nation’s coal units would fall under this category by 2007, and 92% by 2012. Mr. Chairman, I have to ask how would we get this equipment installed on 80% of our units nation-wide by 2007? Who will build the equipment in time? Who will install the equipment on 80% of our units all at the very same time?
5) We also know that the National Governor’s Association has endorsed a 3-Pollutant strategy, not the 4-Pollutant strategy found in the Jeffords/Lieberman Bill.
With these facts in mind, we need to look at the rationale for marking this Bill up, as it is currently written.
Personally, I remain committed to a multi-emissions approach and as I have said before I want to work together to pass meaningful legislation which will make significant emission reductions and which will secure our safe, efficient, reliable and cost-effective energy supply for the American consumer.
However, we have less than 50 legislative days left and zero chance of the Jeffords/Lieberman Bill being signed into law this year. Therefore we can take one of two general approaches. We can either identify those issues in which we can agree and move a bipartisan Bill forward, with some hope of passage, or we can mark up a partisan bill which stands no chance of passing.
Unfortunately it appears that the Chairman has decided to markup a partisan Bill with no chance of passing, all because of carbon.
Three times this year the Senate rejected mandatory carbon controls. Twice on votes regarding CAFÉ on the Energy Bill and once when the Senate rejected the mandatory carbon registry in the Energy Bill and replaced it with a voluntary program. For this Committee to report out a mandatory CO2 provision ignores what the Senate as a whole has done this year.
And the fact of the matter is Mr. Chairman, if this Committee does vote out this Bill, there will not have to be a single Republican hold because members of the Democratic caucus will kill this Bill.
Mr. Chairman, I have said it right from the very beginning, I really want to work together on a bipartisan Bill. I think it is vital that we move aggressively to reduce the levels of NOx, SO2, and mercury. These pollutants cause real health concerns and there is no reason why we can not move forward to make those reductions this year.
Senator’s Schumer and Clinton have introduced the Acid Rain Control Act which is championed by the Adirondack Council. This Bill will actually make real reductions in utility emissions. I met recently with representatives from the Adirondack Council because we both had been named Villain of the Month by the Clean Air Trust and I wanted to understand why. After talking to them I realized why we both received the so-called award, its because we both want to make real reductions now in utility emissions. We don’t want to sacrifice real emissions reductions because of the politics surrounding CO2. Mr. Chairman, I implore you not to turn your back on real emissions reductions just for a political debate on CO2.
What this Committee should be concentrating on is sitting down and dealing with the real issues which will get us real reductions in emissions and provide reliable and cost-effective energy for the American consumers. We should be dealing with the three pollutants, NSR, the NOx SIP Call and the 126 petitions. Mr. Chairman, last month I joined Senator Conrad in a letter to the Administration calling for NSR reform. We had 25 signatures on that letter including 9 democrats calling for reform, in fact I would like to submit the letter for the record. If we, as a Committee, can make these changes then we can reduce utility emissions significantly and provide low-cost energy to our people.
Mr. Chairman, I do appreciate you holding this additional hearing, and I hope we can reach a bipartisan agreement to reduce the utility emissions. Thank you.