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Watch: Bryson Explains Cap-And-Trade Support
June 22, 2011

Posted by Katie Brown Katie_Brown@epw.senate.gov

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Watch: Bryson Explains Cap-And-Trade Support

Transcript  

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison: Along the lines of what the chairman has started with the coal industry, I have concerns about some of the things you have said regarding energy regulations. In a speech where you came out for the cap-and-trade legislation, you said that it is a tax and that regulations that penalize energy producers for producing more energy than needed by the government, were the best way to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gases. The question is-having talked to so many business people and the cost of energy being one of their toughest issues and one of their biggest concerns-are you anti-energy? Are you for taxing energy, raising the cost and letting that have the effect of hurting our businesses while gaining the reported result of having more investment in other forms of energy?

John Bryson: Absolutely no. I think that it draws on this cap-and-trade question, if I have it right. The reason that we in the electric utility industry, substantially every company, maybe we can pick out one or two, wanted in the end to have a sensible cap-and-trade bill as we saw it at the time, was that we couldn't make the investments we needed to make in the infrastructure of our systems, for our customers, under the kind of massive uncertainty that existed at the time.  So we utilities got together, I had been chairman of the Edison Electric Institute-I had been on the executive committee for ten years, I worked with others that were senior positions in the industry, I was by far not the only one, we worked together-and we presented to the House. Senator Feinstein said I had actually worked with others to try to find a path to preserve the coal. What we needed was time, and with time we felt we could work a low cost, potential transition, and went into things like clean coal, into things like natural gas with greater utilization in the industry-lots of things that we thought we could achieve. But we needed some predictability and it was chaos at that time. Now, quite a large number of other businesses, across the U.S. as I think you know, likewise  made that choice at that time-so Dow Chemical, DuPont, Shell Oil and many others. We all recognize-to my knowledge, no one's raising that now, I certainly would not raise that as the Secretary of Commerce.

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