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SOME QUESTIONS FOR SEN. BOXER
September 30, 2009

Posted by: David Lungren David_Lungren@epw.senate.gov

EPW POLICY BEAT: SOME QUESTIONS FOR SEN. BOXER

 As EPW Policy Beat wends its way through Sen. Boxer’s and Sen. Kerry’s (ever-changing) draft legislation, which they intend to introduce today, we had some questions about its inner workings.  We hope over the following days and weeks to get answers to these and other questions.  And we hope the process of getting those answers will contribute to an open, fact-based debate. 

- Sen. Boxer, in the bill’s findings, you laud the merits of nuclear power, and seem to suggest supporting measures to encourage its expansion.  Yet the bill lacks several essential measures to make that happen.  Why?

 

- Sen. Boxer, why does your bill include “climate change worker adjustment assistance”?  Does this mean that your bill will cause workers to lose their jobs?

 

- Sen. Boxer, your bill allows the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, on top of your cap-and-trade mandate.   How is this conducive to regulatory certainty?  Does this conflict with your call for a “market-based” program?   - Sen. Boxer, by providing “rebates” to electricity consumers, are you acknowledging that, as President Obama said, electricity prices will “necessarily skyrocket” because of your cap-and-trade bill?

 

- Sen. Boxer, how does the “rebate” program work?  Does it mandate that local distribution companies cut checks to consumers?  Would those checks completely offset electricity price increases for consumers?  Or is that the local distribution companies could provide “rebates” through, say, energy efficiency programs?

 

- Sen. Boxer, your “price collar” is tied to a “strategic reserve fund,” in which a limited number of allowances could be issued at the collar (ceiling) price.  This is not a true “safety valve.”  David Montgomery with CRA International wrote that, “Without a true safety valve based on an open window and unlimited sales and purchases, there will continue to be significant risks that allowance prices will uncontrollably exceed the collar, in one direction or the other. The result will be a system in which price volatility increases the difficulty of long term investment planning, with the additional uncertainty of how legislation itself will change if a period of unexpectedly high (or low) prices occurs.”  Why is he wrong?  

 

-Senator Boxer, because this is a global issue, how does your draft ensure that other developing countries, such as China and India, will make binding emissions cuts that are as strict as those that are required for the United States under this Act?

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