MARC MORANO (202) 224-5762  
MATT DEMPSEY (202) 224-9797

Inhofe Amendments to Climate Tax Bill

Files Amendments to Protect Truckers and Small Businesses from Higher Diesel Prices and to Promote Smart Nuclear Policy


WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, today filed four amendments to S. 3036, the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act (Climate Tax bill). Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) made the decision to fill the amendment tree and file cloture on the Climate Tax Bill, thus allowing no amendments to be voted on.

"My four amendments would have addressed critical energy needs in America," Senator Inhofe said. "I offered a diesel fuel and a highway amendment in addition to two nuclear amendments dealing with nuclear waste policy."

"To protect Oklahomans, small businesses, and agriculture from the severe impacts of the Climate Tax bill, I am offering an amendment that suspends the provisions of the Climate Tax bill from taking effect if it is determined that this will cause the average price of diesel fuel to increase. As gasoline and diesel prices continue to rise, setting new record highs, the Climate Tax bill would have pushed prices higher. A recent EIA study examining the impact of the Climate Bill predicts that gasoline prices would increase anywhere from 41 cents per gallon to one dollar per gallon by 2030 if this bill is signed into law. These prices are putting new and severe strains on the movement of commerce within the United States.

"Certainly, increasing public transportation use could help reduce mobile source emissions.  This issue is a complex challenge that demands more than a single, oversimplified solution.  To effectively reduce vehicular emissions, a multi-pronged strategy should be employed that capitalizes on the benefits of new highway and bridge capacity, operational improvements, and technology initiatives.  EPA data demonstrate vehicular emission rates are higher during stop-and-go, congested traffic than they are under free-flowing conditions.  It is estimated that reducing congestion at bottlenecks would reduce carbon dioxide emissions in those areas by 77 percent. As such, my amendment expands the Transportation Sector Emission Reduction Fund to ensure both public transportation improvements and traffic congestion relief strategies are deployed to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

Background on Senator Inhofe’s amendments:

Section 611 of the Boxer Climate Tax bill, "Mass Transit," would create a new "Transportation Sector Emission Reduction Fund."  The fund is estimated to receive $171 billion through the auction of emission allowances through FY 2050 to finance public transportation projects (an average of $4.38 billion per year).  S. 3036 directs the revenues deposited in the fund each year to be spent exclusively on transit projects, ignoring the air emission benefits in areas where transit is not a viable option to reduce congestion.  Addressing air quality issues as a result of transportation congestion on our nation's highways with both transit and highway solutions makes for a more holistic strategy and will yield greater environmental benefits.

Amendment on S. 2551, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act: On January 24 this year, Senator Inhofe, together with Senators John Barrasso (R-WY), Larry Craig (R-ID), Lamar Alexander (R-TN),   Kit Bond (R-MO),  Mike Crapo (R-ID), and Jim DeMint (R-SC), introduced the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2008, a bill that reforms the licensing process for authorizing construction, operation, and closure of the Yucca Mountain repository. This amendment would help stimulate a vibrant and growing nuclear energy industry, which is vital to the energy security of our nation and the health of our economy. If this Climate Tax Bill had passed, the need for new nuclear plants would be even greater. Numerous analyses have been conducted on the bill, and one result is increasingly certain: reductions in carbon are contingent on the construction of extensive numbers of new nuclear plants.  Rumors of Yucca Mountain’s demise have been highly exaggerated.  DOE has filed the license application and the NRC is beginning its review in spite of persistent assaults on program funding.  It is time we focus on developing the safest, state-of-the-art repository that we can, one step at a time.  We owe it to our generation and to the generations that follow.

Amendment to Direct-Fund NRC’s Review of the Yucca Mountain License Application: This amendment directs the full funding of the NRC’s review of the Yucca Mountain license application with no further appropriation necessary.  Ideally, an amendment like this shouldn’t be necessary, but politics is interfering with public health and safety.  All stakeholders involved in this program deserve a thorough and timely answer to whether Yucca Mountain can be safely developed as a repository.  This amendment will ensure that this will be the case.