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Vitter: U.S. Should Learn from Europe’s Depressing Energy Crisis Before Enacting New Carbon Rules
Spain, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom all suffering economic decline under similar programs to what President Obama’s EPA is trying to force on United States
June 10, 2014

Today, U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, made the following statement regarding recent energy policies proposed by the Obama Administration, some of which are similar to European policies that have contributed to energy insecurity and economic decline.

"The countries in Europe whose governments have intervened and implemented strict carbon trading policies have clearly made huge - sometimes devastating - economic mistakes. The impacts of those anti-energy rules are exposed in their unreliable electricity grid, increased energy prices, and high unemployment," said Vitter. "As President Obama unilaterally pursues very similar policies, he should be reminded of how depressing the future could look for us in the United States - if we continue down his path."

Last week, Vitter sent a letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, commending Germany's efforts to lift its ban on hydraulic fracturing. Click here to read more.

Also last week, Vitter and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell led 41 Senators in a letter requesting President Obama to withdraw the Administration's proposed regulations for greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants. Click here to read more.

Below is an assortment of news articles describing the effects of Europe's carbon regulations:

NY Times "Europe, Facing Economic Pain, May Ease Climate Rules"

"For years, Europe has tried to set the global standard for climate-change regulation, creating tough rules on emissions, mandating more use of renewable energy sources and arguably sacrificing some economic growth in the name of saving the planet.

"But now even Europe seems to be hitting its environmentalist limits.

"High energy costs, declining industrial competitiveness and a recognition that the economy is unlikely to rebound strongly any time soon are leading policy makers to begin easing up in their drive for more aggressive climate regulation."

Bloomberg News "Coal Returns to German Utilities Replacing Lost Nuclear: Energy"

"Many of Europe's largest utilities are caught between a weak economy that undermines power demand and policies that favor windmills and solar panels over traditional power plants. Usually a safe haven for investors in troubled economic times, Europe's utility stocks have fallen 12 percent over the past five years, as the wider stock market has gained 60 percent.

"Many are convinced that there are too many forces pushing against coal for its comeback to last. Europe can't afford to keep coal-fired plants going and meet stringent targets to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions."

The Guardian "Soaring energy and housing costs force poorest homes to turn to food banks"

"According to a cross-party inquiry led by Labour MP Frank Field, the disproportionately large increase seen in the poorest households is due entirely to rising housing and fuel costs - the proportion of income spent on food is the same as a decade ago.

"UK households combined spent £34.3bn on energy in 2013, a real-terms increase of 131.1% on the £14.8bn spent in 2003. Had energy prices risen in line with the RPI over the same period, households would have spent £20.6bn on energy in 2013 - an increase of just 39.2% on 2003."

New York Times "Renewable Energy in Spain Is Taking a Beating"

"Years of disastrous policies, coupled with the economic crisis, have recast renewable energy in Spain. Once touted as the embodiment of progress, wealth and sustainability, the industry is now seen as an unwanted and costly extravagance.

"Renewable energy, which for years was nourished and pampered - making Spain a global leader in the field - will bear by far the brunt of the reforms, both the government and industry experts said. In particular, proposals that would result in retroactive subsidy cuts have deeply rattled the sector.

"‘The regulatory system for renewables was badly designed and very expensive,' said [David Robinson, an economist in Madrid who specializes in energy policy and who is a senior research fellow in the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies]."

CNBC "World's energy bill to hit $48 trillion by 2035: IEA"

"Last month, the U.K.'s Global Sustainability Institute reported that an energy crisis loomed for European countries like France and Italy, which each have less than a year's stockpile of gas and coal.

"‘I think Europe may risk seeing the lights going off, mainly as a result of not having thermal capacity," said Fatih Birol, [Chief Economist for the International Energy Agency]."

 

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June 2014 Press Releases

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