Opening Statement of Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.)
Based on all the evidence we've seen, in this and other committees in the Senate, I can say with confidence that Kerry-Boxer will destroy jobs, weaken our national security, and raise electricity prices for consumers. And that's what I want to talk about today.
First, let's talk jobs. I noted this yesterday, but I want to say it again: When asked during a Senate Energy Committee hearing whether cap-and-trade would result in a net reduction of jobs, officials from the Congressional Budget Office, along with EPA, EIA, and CRS, raised no objection. CBO's views match those of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, which found that the Waxman-Markey bill would destroy a net 2.5 million jobs.
I look forward to hearing from Valero Energy and the Virginia Manufacturers Association, particularly their real-world perspective as to how Kerry-Boxer would affect jobs.
According to Valero Energy, "S. 1733 will drive domestic gasoline and diesel production offshore, resulting in lost jobs for American workers and the outsourcing of our nation's energy security to regions of the world that do not follow such stringent environmental protections."
Both Valero and the Virginia Manufacturers Association will talk about how the recession has hurt their operations and employees. And they will talk about how Kerry-Boxer and Waxman-Markey will make things even worse.
I'm also eager to discuss how cap-and-trade weakens our national security. Major General Scales and Lt. Col. Carafano will put our nation's threats in context, and describe how America needs to develop its domestic resources to maintain its war-fighting capability. Maj. Gen. Scales said it well:
"Advocates of this bill believe passionately that it will reduce America's production of greenhouse gasses. Some suggest that it will create jobs. They may or may not be correct. But nothing in this bill will either reduce the likelihood of American involvement in future wars nor will it improve America's war making capabilities. Indeed over the decades the consequences of the bill might well reduce American influence and retard our ability to deter and fight wars in the future."
The Congressional Research Service released a new report that found America's combined recoverable natural gas, oil, and coal resources are the largest on earth. Yet due to government restrictions, 83 percent of these resources are off limits. For the sake of our national security, we need to develop these resources.
Finally, Kerry-Boxer undoubtedly will raise electricity prices for consumers. Dustin Johnson, Public Utility Commissioner from South Dakota and Barry Hart, the CEO of the Missouri Rural Electric cooperatives, understand how higher electricity prices can create severe economic hardship for ratepayers. They both agree that Kerry-Boxer will raise electricity prices in their states. Mr. Hart will testify that Waxman-Markey will cause rate increases averaging between 12 percent and 26 percent starting in 2012, with the potential to reach as high as 50 percent should utilities be forced to switch from coal to natural gas for a significant portion of their fuel.
Commissioner Johnston will testify that Kerry-Boxer is worse for consumers than Waxman-Markey. As he explains, the Kerry-Boxer bill has a more aggressive near-term target of 20 percent in 2020, and starts with fewer allowances available for allocation. "The end result," he said, "is a much more severe impact to ratepayers."
So with this and other testimony today, we will learn yet again that cap-and-trade, especially of the Kerry-Boxer variety, is a raw deal for consumers and a raw deal for the national security of the United States.