Matt Dempsey Matt_Dempsey@epw.senate.gov (202) 224-9797
David Lungren David_Lungren@epw.senate.gov (202) 224-5642
Opening Statement of Senator James M. Inhofe
Ranking Member, Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works
U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power
Legislative Hearing on “H.R. ___, the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011”
Wednesday, February 9, 2011, 9:30 am
Thank you, Chairman Whitfield and Ranking Member Rush for the opportunity to speak to the subcommittee this morning. I’m pleased to speak alongside Administrator Jackson and Secretary Chu on the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011.
The draft bill, sponsored by me, Rep. Upton, and Rep. Whitfield, would repeal EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. We’re doing this for one simple reason: EPA’s regulations will impose enormous costs for no meaningful benefits—in other words, all pain for no climate gain.
I have great respect for Administrator Jackson—she is doing what she thinks is right. But I think EPA is taking the wrong course. Let me explain.
Congress didn’t allow EPA to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. Administrator Jackson even agreed with the statement two years ago that the Clean Air Act “is not specifically designed to address greenhouse gases”.
We also know that EPA’s own analysis shows its actions won’t affect climate change, and the scientific basis of its endangerment finding, which the Administrator confirmed to me is the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, is flawed.
Now I’m not here to debate science. So let’s assume—as I did during the Lieberman-Warner debate in the Senate—that predictions of more droughts, more floods, more intense storms, and more cases of disease are true. What we know is that EPA’s regulations won’t affect any of this.
EPA’s analysis of the Lieberman-Warner bill shows that, without aggressive action by China and India, cap-and-trade won’t reduce greenhouse gases by any meaningful amount. The EPA also found that its regulations covering CO2 from cars would reduce global temperatures by 0.006 degrees Celsius by 2100. In other words: no effect.
Now what if we added actions by other countries? Dr. Tom Wigley of the National Center for Atmospheric Research found that full implementation of Kyoto, including action by the U.S., Europe, Canada, Russia, and others, would reduce global temperature by, at most, 0.21 degrees Celsius by 2100. In other words, the Earth would warm about 6 percent less than it normally would.
We know from Wharton, MIT, and others that Kyoto would cost about $300 to $400 billion annually through higher gas, food, and electricity prices. In fact, that’s about the cost of all the cap-and-trade bills we’ve seen since 2003. EPA’s regulations will be no different.
The point is this: it is unfair and unacceptable to ask the steel worker in Ohio, the chemical plant worker in Michigan, and the coal miner in West Virginia to sacrifice their jobs so we can reduce temperature by a barely detectable amount in 100 years.
Yet this is exactly what the EPA is doing. The Energy Tax Prevention Act would stop EPA and protect those jobs. It would ensure that America’s manufacturers can stay here and compete against China. And it would put Congress back in charge of deciding the nation’s climate change policy.
EPA’s actions under the Clean Air Act are part of the cap-and-trade agenda. That agenda wants higher energy prices for consumers, higher taxes for citizens, more regulations on small businesses, more restrictions on choices, and ultimately less freedom. Supporters believe these things will stop global warming. They won’t.
EPA claims the Supreme Court forced it to act. Not so; the Supreme Court ruled that EPA possessed the discretion under the Clean Air Act to decide whether greenhouse gases endanger public health and welfare. EPA was given a choice, and it made the wrong choice. The Energy Tax Prevention Act is the right choice for jobs, for consumers, for a growing economy, and for the future of America.