Madame Chairman, thank you for holding this hearing today. I would like to welcome all of our witnesses, but especially that of Dick Armey, who is not only a man of great substance, but great learning. And I would note with regret that Paul Renfrow of OG&E will not be joining us due to the passing of OG&E’s CEO, Steve Moore. Steve was a good and decent man and the people of my State will miss him.
We have held numerous hearings in this Committee on the issue of climate change, but few of any substance. In contrast, a hearing on the job impacts of carbon mandates on the U.S. economy is an important one. I will be blunt: like several of our witnesses today, I believe carbon mandates are job destroyers.
Our witnesses will testify today on how devastating carbon mandates would be to the economy, costing up to $10,800 a year for a family of four. These are staggering numbers. And the burdens will not be shared equally. Some will win, but many more will lose – and some people will lose everything as their jobs are shipped overseas.
As a strong supporter of nuclear energy, it is gratifying that we could expect more nuclear plants to come online, and the thousands of good jobs the building of new reactors will create. But more jobs will be lost elsewhere than are created. I would like to submit for the record the testimony of Dr. Gabriel Calzada of Madrid. He tells the story of North American Stainless Steel, a subsidiary of Acerinox, the world’s second-largest stainless steel producer. Kyoto Protocol’s emissions trading system is wrecking Spain’s competitiveness and adding to the bottom line costs of production in that country, so the company announced in 2005 that it would expand operations in Carroll County, Kentucky, creating an additional 175 jobs. CEO Victoriano Muñoz explained the decision by saying “I would not like to find myself buying quotas from France or Germany.”
Government projections all show that mandates will worsen the economy. Of course, the hardest burdens will be borne by the poor and working class, as a Congressional Budget Office analysis showed earlier this year. Their energy costs – already five times higher than wealthier Americans as a percentage of their monthly budget – will mushroom.
It is no coincidence, Madame Chairman, that the average American can expect to live 25 years longer than less than a century ago. And the real standard of living has increased 6-fold. These leaps were driven by the rapid growth that was unleashed in the 20th Century. I am concerned that, instead of continuing our amazing success story, we will write a very different story for future generations. That instead of continuing to prosper, we will write laws that become the engine of the nation’s decline. I urge my colleagues to safeguard the future prosperity of the nation and reject symbolic climate gestures that threaten that prosperity.