On Thursday, May 22, 2008, Senator Inhofe joined in a colloquy with Senators Allard (R-CO) and Stevens (R-AK) regarding the need to develop domestic energy resources and increase domestic refining capacity in order to bring down the high price of gas at the pump.
“Faced with skyrocketing gas prices and national economic insecurity, many Oklahoman and American families will be forced to think twice about travel plans this Memorial Day weekend and throughout the summer,” Senator Inhofe said. “Hopefully after this holiday, after enough Senators have heard from outraged constituents about the high price of gas at the pump, there will be enough political pressure that we can finally get Congress to agree to start drilling in ANWR, drilling offshore, drilling in the shale area and experimenting in some of these areas where we can become totally self-sufficient in America.
“One of the major hurdles to bringing down the price at the pump is to increase domestic refining capacity. To address this glaring need, I introduced legislation to improve and streamline the permitting process for the expansion of existing and new refineries in each of the past two Congresses. In fact, I offered this common sense legislation as an amendment to the energy bill last year. Unfortunately, the amendment failed 43-52 without a single Democratic member voting for the amendment. Today as gasoline prices continue to rapidly increase, the question remains, how much higher will gas prices need to go before we act?
“The simple fact remains, until we explore and develop domestic energy resources and increase domestic refining capacity, the cost of gas at the pump will increase. Now is not the time for politics as usual – now is the time for common sense solutions.”
Following the EPW Committee mark-up on Wednesday, Senator Inhofe commented on the party line vote to deny the nomination of David R. Hill to be Assistant Administrator and General Counsel of Environmental Protection Agency.
“The unnecessary politicization of nominee David Hill today by the EPW committee does not bode well for the nominations of the next administration,” Senator Inhofe said. “Hill is very qualified to be EPA’s General Counsel and party politics should not have been allowed to defeat his nomination.”
Senator Inhofe commented this week on the Lieberman-Warner global warming cap-and-trade bill’s substitute amendment to the Climate Security Act – S.2191.
“The latest version is nothing more than window dressing for a bill that has been exposed by numerous government and private analyses as costly and damaging to America,” Senator Inhofe said. “Lieberman-Warner will redistribute over $5.6 trillion from American consumers to pet congressional projects. Despite paying for the trillions of dollars mandated by this cap-and-trade scheme, American families and workers will only receive back $800 billion in consumer tax relief -- $7 paid for every $1 returned.
“The fact is that the Lieberman-Warner bill is the largest pork bill ever considered by Congress. No matter how many revisions this bill undergoes, it remains a massive redistribution of wealth, the largest new tax and spend program in our Nation's history. The handouts being offered by the sponsors of this bill come straight from the pocket of families and workers in the form of higher gas, power, and heating bills. The newly revised Lieberman-Warner bill offers nothing new except more pain at the gas pump and more expensive consumer goods.”
Senator Inhofe praised the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee for holding a hearing on Tuesday on the economic impacts of the Lieberman-Warner global warming cap-and-trade bill. (Climate Security Act – S.2191)
"The Energy committee’s hearing on the economic impacts of climate change legislation is timely and critically needed,” Senator Inhofe said. “I am pleased that a Senate committee is examining the costs of Lieberman-Warner, particularly since this bill will drive up gas prices, utility prices and overall energy prices. This economic impact hearing should have been held by the Environment and Public Works Committee.
“On June 2, 2008, Senate Democrats have vowed to bring forward global warming cap-and-trade legislation before the United States Senate that, if passed, would drastically increase the already skyrocketing cost of energy at the pump and in our homes, as well as cost millions of American jobs – all for no environmental gain. Yet despite the enormous financial burden this bill would impose on American families and American workers, the Senate has yet to fully examine and debate this bill.”
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee full committee oversight hearing “To receive testimony on Energy and Related Economic Effects of Global Climate Change Legislation” will be held on May 20th at 10 AM EST. See also: New Inhofe White Paper, Web Page, Details Harmful Impacts of Lieberman-Warner Bill
Lieberman-Warner bill could raise gas prices
By Jim Snyder
A bill that the Senate will debate after Memorial Day could add about 50 cents to the price of a gallon of gasoline, according to a study.
Lawmakers have spent the spring debating ways to lower prices at the pump. But they will soon find themselves discussing a measure that could push fuel costs even higher.
A study paid for by a group that represents oil refiners found that the global warming bill, co-authored by Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and John Warner (R-Va.), would raise pump prices by around 48 cents (in 2007 currency) by 2030. It also found that the bill would increase gas prices by as much as 13 cents over the next four years.
The debate highlights the difficulty lawmakers will face in trying to tackle global warming as they simultaneously try to provide economic relief to the nation’s drivers.
The Warner-Lieberman bill, which is expected to be debated on the Senate floor the first week of June, seeks to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 65 percent below 2005 levels by 2050.
It does so by imposing a cap on the amount of greenhouse gases an industrial sector can release. Companies that exceed that cap could buy emission allowances from greener businesses in an open market.
For refiners, the bill would act like a tax on carbon dioxide, a leading greenhouse gas released when fossil fuels are burned. The total price hit would reach 60 cents, the study predicts.
About 80 percent of that would be passed on to consumers.
The report was performed by NERA Economic Consulting , a group that has helped craft a cap-and-trade system in Europe, and underwritten by the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association (NPRA) , a group that has called efforts in the United States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions “premature.”
But the study reflects the findings of an earlier report performed by the impartial Energy Information Administration, a division of the Energy Department that tracks and reviews energy data. That report also projected around a 50-cent increase in gas prices due to new carbon dioxide emissions restraints.
Both reports also say a climate bill could lead people to drive less, which would lower demand and therefore the price of gas.
David Harrison, who heads NERA’s global environment group, said reduced demand could lower the price of gasoline and other refined products by nine cents. Overall, “There is a lot of uncertainty related to price,” he said.
The NPRA study and others could, however, leave supporters of a climate change bill open to charges of hypocrisy, given their simultaneous efforts to reduce gasoline costs by requiring the administration, for example, to stop filling the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, leaving more oil on the market.
The subject of gas prices will continue to dominate debate on Capitol Hill this week. House Democrats plan to take up a bill that would allow antitrust challenges to OPEC, the oil cartel.
Republicans will again push for measures that would open up areas that are now off-limits to oil and gas development as a way to boost domestic supply.
With debate on climate change set for the first week in June, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, meanwhile, is wading into the various economic analyses on Warner-Lieberman and other climate change bills at a hearing scheduled for Tuesday.
The National Association of Manufacturers , National Mining Association , Congressional Budget Office, Congressional Research Service, Environmental Protection Agency and Environmental Defense Fund have all examined the potential costs.
Charlie Drevna, the president and CEO of NPRA, said the reports should convince lawmakers to think twice before pursing aggressive climate change bills.
“Policymakers are going to have to get mugged by reality,” Drevna said. “This study is but one step in that mugging.”
But Paul Bledsoe, a spokesman for the National Commission on Energy Policy , a nonpartisan think tank, said lawmakers should be wary of economic predictions relating to a climate change bill.
“There is a lot of data out there,” Bledsoe said.
“The tricky part is that every one of the analyses makes assumptions about what the world is going to look like. It all depends on how quickly clean-energy technology will penetrate the marketplace.”
The studies do underscore, Bledsoe added, the need for some type of mechanism to control the costs to the economy. The Warner-Lieberman bill, for example, would create a Federal Reserve-like board that would keep track of allowance prices. If prices rose too high, the board could decide to release more credits in the market, thereby reducing the price.
Other bills include a safety valve that establishes a price ceiling for an emissions allowance.
There is also a cost to not acting, supporters of climate change legislation point out.
A manager’s amendment of the Warner-Lieberman bill released to lobbyists last week notes predictions by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that rising temperatures caused in part by humans will lead to more erosion on the coasts, decreased snow pack in the West — and therefore less water — and new threats to forests from insects and fire.
Crop output in Africa could decline 50 percent due to global climate change, IPCC reported.
Opponents will use more than costs to lobby against the Warner-Lieberman bill. The NPRA study also questions whether the emissions curbs called for in Warner-Lieberman are achievable.
For example, the study found that it would take “at least” 70 new nuclear reactors by 2030 to meet the bill’s climate goals. But the report suggests that could be an unrealistic expectation given the costs of constructing a nuclear plant.
Progress Energy estimated in March that it would cost nearly $15 billion to construct two 1,000-megawatt nuclear units. That price is more than 40 percent of an average investor-owned utility’s market capitalization, the study notes.
Also, NERA’s study says there would have to be a tenfold increase in wind power generation.
That translates into 40,000 new turbines, which would cover 2 millions acres, an area three times the size of Rhode Island.
Drevna said the addition of that many new turbines is likely to raise land-use issues and not-in-my-backyard concerns similar to those already seen in the debate over whether to build a wind farm in Nantucket Sound.
Harrison said NPRA did not
seek to influence the outcome of the report. He said that lawmakers should view
it and other studies as indicators of the potential effects of the
Warner-Lieberman bill but that there were a number of uncertainties in such a
broad bill that could affect the ultimate outcome.
Link to Lieberman-Warner Climate Bill Exposed Page: www.epw.senate.gov/lieberman-warnerbillexposed
Sampling of Latest News on Lieberman-Warner
Excerpt: Unfortunately for the American people, past energy policy decisions are already slowing the U.S. economy in fundamentally the same way a fully implemented cap-and-trade plan would. […] And what has been the result of these caps on domestic oil production? Sky high energy prices. Retail gasoline is in its 15th straight day of record highs. American Airlines is mothballing planes, cutting flights and raising prices. For the first time since 1991, the Department of Energy reported that gasoline use was down. Goldman Sachs predicts that oil could top $140 a barrel this summer and average $200 a barrel next year. Such prices are already proving to be a major drag on the economy. Implementation of Lieberman-Warner would only worsen these trends. The Heritage Foundation released a study this month estimating that the impact of Lieberman-Warner on the U.S. economy would be a cumulative loss in gross domestic product of at least $1.7 trillion. And this is on top of what the Congressional Budget Office shows would be a $1.21 trillion increase in taxes between 2009 and 2018. No wonder so many Democrats are already backing away from their support of the bill. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) have all expressed second thoughts about the bill after considering how badly it would hurt their state economies. Hopefully after a summer on the campaign trail listening to voters’ concerns about gas prices and the economy, America’s presidential candidates will reach a similar conclusion.
Excerpt: Despite warnings from a key Democrat that the bill is “still dead,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has officially added climate change legislation to the floor calendar, according to Senate sources, paving the way for debate on the revised Lieberman-Warner bill expected in early June. At a press conference May 21 to tout the revised bill, Sen. Joesph Lieberman (I-CT) said the measure has majority support for passage, but not necessarily enough votes to overcome a potential filibuster. “I believe...we are over 50 votes for this proposal. We are in reach of 60 but we are not there and we are not minimizing the difficulty of getting there.” Key Democratic supporters May 21 also unveiled a new substitute amendment that lawmakers will debate. In addition, Lieberman and Sen. John Warner (R-VA) unveiled a separate amendment to increase manufacturing capacity for nuclear project components, which Warner described as a “foundation” for the debate on the role of nuclear energy in the climate legislation.
Excerpt: Andrew Wheeler, staff director for Senate Environment and Public Works Committee ranking member James Inhofe (R-Okla.), challenged the bill's giant price tag and the numerous new programs it creates. "A pig is a pig is a pig and this bill is a porker," he said […] New Senate global warming legislation released yesterday includes several incentives aimed at encouraging more than a dozen states to disband their own climate efforts and join the federal program. The substitute climate bill from Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and John Warner (R-Va.) offers a soft landing to the states that have taken a leadership role on the issue, including California, New York and Florida. Among other things, the states would have access to more than $560 billion in free allowances over the next four decades if they discontinue their own cap-and-trade programs in deference to a similar federal system that would be up and running in 2012. Also, companies that are holding allowances or have purchased offset project credits for compliance with a state program could redeem those credits in the federal program. "I would call it a carrot," said a Senate Democratic aide who worked on the bill. State officials from the Northeast and California have been in talks with Senate offices in recent weeks to propose ideas for the climate bill, including keeping their programs intact until the federal cap-and-trade program starts and offering some level of transition assistance.
Excerpt: Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, today commented on the Lieberman-Warner global warming cap-and-trade bill’s substitute amendment (Climate Security Act – S.2191). “The latest version is nothing more than window dressing for a bill that has been exposed by numerous government and private analyses as costly and damaging to America,” Senator Inhofe said. “Lieberman-Warner will redistribute over $5.6 trillion from American consumers to pet congressional projects. Despite paying for the trillions of dollars mandated by this cap-and-trade scheme, American families and workers will only receive back $800 billion in consumer tax relief -- $7 paid for every $1 returned. “The fact is that the Lieberman-Warner bill is the largest pork bill ever considered by Congress. No matter how many revisions this bill undergoes, it remains a massive redistribution of wealth, the largest new tax and spend program in our Nation's history.
Excerpt: Two of the main architects of Senate global warming
legislation today will unveil a section for the bill intended to promote
nuclear energy, which could open the floodgates for a myriad of potentially
controversial proposals from both parties when floor debate starts next month.
Sens. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., and John Warner, R-Va., will unveil a new
nuclear title that will be offered to a bill the two authored with Environment
and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer, which is aimed at reducing U.S. greenhouse
gas emissions through a cap-and-trade program. Lieberman and Warner will offer
it as an amendment because Boxer has not favored language singling out nuclear
energy. But all three senators suggested today they may not be at odds on at
least this initial framework of a nuclear section. “We’re not going to lose
Sen. Boxer,” Warner said reporters after an event with Boxer, Lieberman and
religious leaders promoting their bill, which will be on the Senate floor as
early as June 2. “I think it will be relatively non controversial,” Lieberman
added. […] Boxer said Lieberman and Warner should have the votes to attach
a nuclear title to the bill and said she may be amenable to provisions
regarding training of workers, keeping production in America and nuclear safety. “They
have the votes, so at the end of the day we will see what passes,” she said.
Boxer said she will work with Lieberman and Warner to achieve a “sweet spot in
legislation” so “we don’t cross the line.” She acknowledged she is in the
minority among those who have particularly strong concerns about expanding
nuclear production. “We’re never going to achieve the goals [in the bill]
unless we have a lot more nuclear power in the United States,” said Lieberman.
Excerpt: "ACCCE is publicly committed to supporting the timely adoption of federal climate change legislation (and recognizes that a mandatory cap-and-trade program is one option for such legislation) so long as the principles we advocate are appropriately addressed. However, we are not supporting S.2191 -- the Lieberman-Warner bill -- as it is currently written, because this legislation does not adequately embrace those principles.
Excerpt: Opponents, led by Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., say the bill would drive energy costs higher than they are now and crush an already weak economy. They have threatened to mount a filibuster to block a Senate vote and are confident the bill's sponsors don't have the 60 votes needed to end the debate. Even if supporters prevail in the Senate, the bill has not made much progress in the House. President Bush, an opponent, is not likely to sign it into law if it is passed by the full Congress. Still, opponents worry about increasing bipartisan support for the legislation. "We're taking it seriously," said Myron Ebell, director of energy and global warming policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which opposes the bill. "My view is that it takes several Congresses to get any controversial legislation enacted, and the only way you can stop it is by fighting it every step of the way. However far they (the bill's supporters) get this year will be a benchmark for where they start next year." Environmentalists believe momentum is on their side as global warming hits home with more and more Americans. "As the impact of global warming has become more visible to everyone, we have seen a broadening of support for action coming from across the political spectrum," Symons said. "We've got mayors, sportsmen, evangelical Christians and college students coming together on this issue. Global warming has leapt out of the pages of scientific journals and into our backyards, and people are taking notice." Just this week, the Interior Department announced it was putting the polar bear on the list of threatened species because global warming is melting the creature's icy Arctic habitat. It was the first time an animal has been put on the list of threatened or endangered species based on habitat destruction caused by climate change. "It is yet another clear signal that Congress should move quickly," Lieberman said.
Excerpt: The Lieberman-Warner climate bill hasn’t even hit the floor of Congress, but its impacts may already be hitting the market. That’s the first reading of NRG Energy’s unsolicited, $11 billion all-stock bid for troubled rival Calpine Corp., a move which would create the biggest independent power producer in the U.S. NRG and Calpine are roughly the same size today, and a combined company would have about 45 gigawatts of generation capacity. What’s so attractive about Calpine, which just got out of bankruptcy–besides a $5 billion tax carryover? It’s the biggest electric utility in the U.S. that doesn’t burn any coal–it just operates natural gas-fired turbines and some geothermal plants. […] It also seems to be a sign that, for NRG at least, revisions proposed to the Lieberman-Warner bill don’t make things substantially cheaper for utilities. Senator Barbara Boxer’s amendment to the Senate’s favorite climate bill would create an “off-ramp” where the government would print more emissions permits if the price was between $22 and $30 a ton. Two reasons why utilities may not be mollifed by the changes, even as enviros are horrified. First, the extra emissions permits will be auctioned, not given away, so power companies will still have to pay. Second, the “trigger” price to print more permits will rise by 5% plus inflation every year through 2027. That means the “emergency off-ramp” gets further away—and more expensive—every year.
Excerpt: A bill that the Senate will debate after Memorial Day could add about 50 cents to the price of a gallon of gasoline, according to a study. Lawmakers have spent the spring debating ways to lower prices at the pump. But they will soon find themselves discussing a measure that could push fuel costs even higher. A study paid for by a group that represents oil refiners found that the global warming bill, co-authored by Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and John Warner (R-Va.), would raise pump prices by around 48 cents (in 2007 currency) by 2030. It also found that the bill would increase gas prices by as much as 13 cents over the next four years. The debate highlights the difficulty lawmakers will face in trying to tackle global warming as they simultaneously try to provide economic relief to the nation’s drivers. The Warner-Lieberman bill, which is expected to be debated on the Senate floor the first week of June, seeks to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 65 percent below 2005 levels by 2050.
Excerpt: leading economist says plans by Congress to dramatically reduce carbon emissions in the coming decades will cause more economic trouble for the nation. Dr. Margo Thorning told a meeting of the Northwest Public Power Association Tuesday that proposals like the Lieberman-Warner climate change bill in the Senate could raise energy costs and reduce jobs. "Alaska would lose significant amount of gross state product and employment because of the rise of energy prices, making more costly to produce it and less overall demand for it as prices rise," she said.
Excerpt: Congress will soon face its moment of truth on climate-change legislation, prompting the Senate’s Committee on Energy and Natural Resources to convene a Scrabble board of government agencies Tuesday morning to clear up some lingering questions for once and for all. Such as: How much will this thing cost the U.S. economy, and why are cost estimates all over the place? One takeaway: Lieberman-Warner can cut a big chunk of U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions without killing the economy. Estimates vary between about 0.5% of GDP and about 2% of GDP by 2030. […] Of course, poor families would get hit harder by rising electricity and gas bills. Or the government can use the proceeds to compensate low-income families, even at the cost of overall economic pain.
Excerpt: The influential Pew Center has a new report out by a couple of MIT researchers (A. Denny Ellerman and Paul Joskow) purporting to assess the European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). ETS is of course the cap-and-trade rationing scheme — under which EU energy costs went up, up, up and covered emissions . . . uh, also went up — that our brave Senate will confront imposing on the U.S. in two weeks’ time. That’s a coincidence, by the way. Don’t let their membership of corporate rent-seekers fool you, Pew isn’t a lobbying group. Presuming that Lieberman-Warner’s opponents reveal (or its champions admit) how ETS has in fact been a failure, as any objective analysis indicates, we should have a robust debate, in with the Pew/MIT paper is flogged mercilessly. Just to give you a flavor of the paper, as repeated in the “Greenwire” coverage of it last week and in today’s “OnPoint” interview with author A. Denny Ellerbman, the argument distills as follows: “OK, so it didn’t do anything, but it must be hailed as a success because at least it “did something.” If anyone asks you for one example to illustrate the substance of today’s policy debate, no soundbite does the job better.
Excerpt: While reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions is a worthy goal, policymakers in Congress need to consider carefully the costs and benefits of new GHG legislation. For example, one bill before Congress, the Climate Security Act of 2007, introduced by Senators Lieberman and Warner would force reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, which would mean less energy, higher energy prices, and diminished economic growth. The National Association of Manufacturers and my organization, the American Council on Capital Formation, recently found that the Lieberman-Warner bill would reduce GDP by about 1% in 2014 as by as much as 2.7% in 2030 and employment would be as much as 4 million jobs lower. Each 1% increase in U.S. GDP is accompanied by a 0 .3% increase in energy use.
Excerpt: Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper slammed on Wednesday his political opponent's proposal for a carbon tax to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, calling it a "foolish" move at a time of soaring energy prices. Harper, a Conservative, told reporters that he sees gasoline and other energy prices continuing to rise over the next few years due to demand from emerging economies such as China and India and because the world is using low-cost hydrocarbons "more quickly than most people are aware". […] "We think that is a foolish and unnecessary policy that's being proposed by our opposition," Harper said, speaking at a farm in Beamsville, Ontario, after announcing new food labeling regulations. Harper ruled out spending increases to counter the fallout from the U.S. economic downturn. “We don't want to panic. Now is not the time to start spending like drunken sailors, to start running massive deficits, to start raising carbon taxes all over the economy because somebody thinks they should do something." "We're not going to do wild experiments with the Canadian economy," he added.
Excerpt: In June, the U.S. Senate will debate Senate Bill 2191, "America's Climate Security Act," sponsored by Sens. John Warner, R-Va., and Joe Lieberman, I-Conn. This badly flawed bill would implement a cap-and-trade policy to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions to 4 percent below the 1990 level by 2020, and to 63 percent below the 2005 level by 2050, according to its authors. […] In addition to setting up a slew of new organizations and programs, this new government boondoggle would cost the U.S. a trillion dollars over the next decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office. As would be expected, the National Association of Manufacturers and the American Council for Capital formation reject this bill, claiming Warner-Lieberman would progressively lower America's gross domestic product by as much as $238 billion in 2030 and $1 trillion in 2050 more than projected if the bill was not in place. Job losses, household income, manufacturing activity, electricity and gasoline prices would progressively bear the brunt of this environment Protection Agency supported bill, which is fronted by two moderate senators and hailed by California's liberal senator, Barbara Boxer. Surprisingly, the EPA's economic analysis committee admitted the implementation of this omnibus bill would prove very costly to the U.S. economy, but did not state specific figures.
Excerpt: The Lieberman-Warner climate change bill may cost the sponsoring senator’s states dearly — Connecticut’s economy will lose $6.8 billion and Virginia’s economy will lose $12.2 billion in 2030. Presidential candidates’ home-state economies will also suffer — John McCain’s Arizona will suffer $7.7 billion and Obama’s Illinois will lose $19.6 billion in 2030. According to Heritage’s analysis, the cumulative gross domestic product losses are at least $1.7 trillion and could reach $4.8 trillion by 2030 using inflation adjusted dollars. Is economic stagnation an appropriate price for minimal carbon dioxide emissions?
Excerpt: "I'm anxious to have it," Warner said last week. "I'd assume it can be done and done correctly to reflect the views of all three of us." Senate aides said yesterday they expect the climate bill will be a contentious point of discussion during the Democratic and Republican caucus lunches today. Several moderate and conservative lawmakers have raised concerns over the costs of the bill and the need to debate it amid such high energy prices and the slow economy. Andrew Wheeler, staff director to Senate Environment and Public Works Committee ranking member James Inhofe (R-Okla.), called the bill's $5.6 trillion payoff a "redistribution of wealth from American consumers to various pet projects and programs." Wheeler added, "You can put lipstick on a pig and this is a still a pig. This is the biggest pork bill that Congress will ever consider." If the debate occurs as scheduled next month, there is also a high potential for uncomfortable votes for the three remaining presidential candidates -- Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) -- if they show up. And proponents of expanded nuclear power also are trying to get language added to the bill despite objections from Boxer and other liberal Democrats. "There will be nuclear in there," Warner said. "I think it will be something that those in the industry that are anxious to move forward will receive quite well."
Excerpt: A week before Memorial Day, many Americans remain uneasy about their personal financial situation, partly because rising energy prices are putting a squeeze on family budgets. Now along comes a Heritage Foundation analysis of the Lieberman-Warner (S.2191) global-warming bill, which shows serious peril ahead if Congress enacts this cap-and-trade scheme to reduce carbon dioxide. Conservatives have long been concerned about a de facto energy tax, but the study’s findings should worry all Americans.
Excerpt: Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) made similar comments last week. "At the end of the day, every citizen will be paying more for their fuel and actually more for their food and almost every other product they buy," said [Sen. Bob] Corker. […] Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), for example, said he didn't think Democrats would want to be put on record on the Lieberman-Warner legislation given recent EPA and Energy Information Administration studies which indicate higher energy prices if the bill were to become law. "I wouldn't if I were them," Vitter said. "I would think they'd want to put it on the floor, talk about polar bears for 10 minutes and take it off. That's why I've specifically suggested to folks who feel as I do about the bill that we should keep it on the floor for as long as possible and really start the full debate about this very topic that we've never started in earnest." Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), who has expressed concerns about the bill's costs, said he wasn't so concerned about debating the issue. "Well, that's what we get paid to do," Conrad said. "Look, these are important issues. It deserves debate, votes."
Excerpt: Coal industry lobbyist Scott Segal’s biggest criticism of the Senate climate change bill is that its order of business is out of order. Emission reduction mandates in the legislation being offered Sens. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) and John Warner (R-Va.) would force Segal’s companies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions before the necessary technology is developed, sending energy prices sky high. Instead, the coal companies say funding for the development of carbon capture technology and other low-emissions technology has to roll in before they can act on global warming. […] Voinovich, the ranking Republican on the Senate Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee, said at an Ohio climate conference recently that he has “strenuous objections” to the Lieberman-Warner bill. “Beginning with higher fuel and electricity costs, the bill will send ripple effects through every sector of the nation’s economy,” Voinovich said. “And by giving short shrift to the growing emissions from countries like China and India, it will likely result in sending more of our jobs overseas.” […] If things go poorly for climate change supporters, Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) is expected to yank the global warming bill if it becomes severely weakened. The bill has not yet received support from the new American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity that launched a month ago and boasts members such as Peabody Energy Corp. and a handful of mining and railway groups.
Excerpt: Congress will be busy next month with the big Lieberman-Warner climate bill, though not in its original form. Details of amendments proposed by Sen. Barbara Boxer would provide a safety valve to keep carbon prices from getting too high, notes Hill Heat. Planet Gore is still mulling lessons from Europe’s cap-and-trade scheme, and notes the tumultuous three-year first phase is now called a “trial,” though it never was at the time. Who will save the environment from environmentalists?, asks Jonah Goldberg in the L.A. Times, contrasting environmentalism and conservationism.
Excerpt: If you think energy is expensive now, just wait until our next president, working with a Democratic-majority Congress, implements cap-and-trade rules tailored for the greatest possible gain for special interests and the highest possible costs to consumers and taxpayers. […] As Americans are kept in the dark by gullible mainstream media, industry and special interests are ensuing that cap-and-trade, when it arrives, will either be as damaging as possible to consumers, will accomplish none of its stated goals, or, most likely, both. We taxpayers and consumers are “on the menu” indeed.
The Wall Street Journal
REVIEW & OUTLOOK
May 22, 2008; Page A14
When Senate Democrats tie one of President Bush's nominees to the whipping post, they usually bother to invent some substantive objection. Apparently the new standard for rejection is merely that a White House nominee dares to support White House policy.
In March, the White House nominated David Hill as general counsel for the Environmental Protection Agency. He ought to have zipped through the Senate. Over two decades in Washington, Mr. Hill has accumulated no partisan ballast; when he was nominated as the Energy Department's general counsel three years ago, he was confirmed unanimously. He is roundly liked for his role in developing the Administration's loan programs for clean tech.
But yesterday, Mr. Hill was rejected for the EPA post by the Senate Environment Committee during a routine business meeting, a highly unusual maneuver. The 10-9 vote had no relation at all to Mr. Hill's qualifications to serve and everything to do with preventing any policy supervision at the EPA.
The committee is chaired by California's Barbara Boxer, who is livid that the EPA has so far declined to rewrite existing environmental laws to regulate greenhouse gasses. At a confirmation hearing, Ms. Boxer told Mr. Hill that he was incapable of "independent thought" because he didn't pay obeisance to her political agenda. Instead, Mr. Hill said he would only sign off on decisions that were "legally defensible." Anything but that.
This blackmail is especially appalling because the EPA is being sued on dozens of fronts, and needs someone competent to head its legal office. But by Ms. Boxer's standard no one who doesn't bow to her policy could possibly be confirmed, ever. Remember all the partisan jabbering, not so long ago, about the Imperial Presidency?