Click here to watch Chairman Barrasso’s remarks.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), delivered the following remarks on the on the Senate floor regarding the Democrats’ “Green New Deal” resolution.
Senate Democrats had just challenged Senate Republicans to provide a solution on climate change. Minority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) had said on the floor: “Do any of our Republican colleagues believe that climate change is real? Second, do any of our Republican colleagues over there believe that it is caused by human activity? And do they have any plan, proposal, or suggestion as to how we deal with the issue?”
Barrasso responded to Schumer by pointing to his op-ed in the New York Times from December 18, 2018 titled “Cut Carbon Through Innovation, Not Regulation.” He also pointed to the Republican bills to promote carbon capture technologies and nuclear power.
Senator Barrasso’s remarks:
“I appreciate the opportunity to come to the floor to answer the specific questions.
“I would point to an op-ed that I wrote for the New York Times last year.
“Perhaps the Senator from New York doesn’t read his hometown newspaper but there is an editorial in the New York Times from December 18 (titled) “Cut Carbon Through Innovation, Not Regulation.
“It’s a plan: cut carbon through innovation, not regulation.
“The question is: do we believe the climate is changing? Do humans have an impact?
“The answer is yes to both.
“As a matter of fact I wrote, ‘climate is changing and we collectively have a responsibility to do something about it.’
“Right here in New York Times on December 18.
“Second, the United States and the world will continue to rely on affordable and abundant fossil fuel, including coal, to power our economies for decades to come.
“And we need to also rely on innovation.
“Not new taxes, not punishing global agreements.
“That’s the ultimate solution.
“And I will point out Mr. President, that this is something that I had written and submitted and published long before the so-called ‘Green New Deal’ was ever introduced in Congress. In the House or in the Senate.
“I go on to say ‘People across the world are rejecting the idea that carbon taxes and raising the cost of energy is the answer to lowering emissions.’
“I go on Mr. President, in France; the government had just suspended a fuel tax increase after some of its citizens took to the streets in protest.
“It was every story on the news.
“In the United States, the results of the November election showed that these plans and other government interventions are just as unpopular.
“Voters in Washington state rejected the creation of an expensive tax on carbon emissions.
“In Colorado, a ballot measure to severely restrict drilling was defeated.
“And in Arizona, voters rejected a mandate to make the state’s utilities much more dependent on renewable energy by 2030. They rejected it.
“So Mr. President, I would point out that all three of those states elected liberal Democrats to Congress on election night.
“And Mr. President, in further answer to that question, I would point to USA Today from March 4, 2019. This is this week’s paper.
“Front page: ‘To a Warming Planet Rescue Carbon Capture. In the race against climate change, scientist are looking for ways to pull CO2 out of the Earth’s atmosphere and store it away.’
“And what they point to is bipartisan legislation passed by this body, passed by the House of Representatives, signed into law by President Trump that’s focusing on carbon capture, sequestration.
“It talks about a program called 45Q that is the FUTURE Act.
“One of the cosponsors from the other side of the aisle is on the floor right now.
“His name is mentioned – my name is mentioned, in finding the solution.
“So there are Republican solutions and ideas that are focused on innovation, not regulation, not taxation.
“Focused on freedom and the innovation we’ve had.
“So, I have come to tell you Mr. President that there are solutions and Republicans will continue to offer them.
“We had a hearing most recently – just last week – on something called the USE IT Act.
“Again, to capture carbon and to sequester it.
“We’ve been working on new age nuclear power.
“Working with leaders. We have passed that and it was signed into law.
“An innovation bill for nuclear power. New age nuclear power that will result in smaller reactors, safer reactors, cheaper to use.
“No carbon whatsoever, Mr. President.
“So there are absolute solutions and Republicans are going to continue to come to the floor but we’re not going to support something that would bankrupt the country.
“Something that would raise the cost of energy for families.
“Something that would drive people to the point of spending money they don’t have or having our county borrow money we don’t have.
“All at a time when we ask ‘what is the cost?’
“There have been numbers that have been raised. I haven’t heard any numbers form the other side of the aisle.
“So Mr. President, I have come to the floor to tell you that Republicans have continued to offer solutions and some of these solutions I have been offering for ten years.
“Took us a while to get some of these into law but they are working and they’ve been identified as working.
“Even president Obama’s Secretary of Energy Ernie Moniz, who came and testified before the Energy Committee said there are two things that will make a big difference: one is the new age nuclear work that we are doing and the other is carbon capture and sequestration.
“Those are large scale products that work.
“We have a booming economy in this country, Mr. President.
“In just over a year, with tax relief we have helped create 3 million new jobs – manufacturing jobs.
“10 straight months there have been more job available than people looking for those jobs.
“I want to don nothing that will harm these people that are working, that have the opportunity.
“We have such a strong, healthy, growing economy.
“But this Green New Deal – this big government takeover of the economy is masked as an environmental proposal.
“To me it’s radical.
“The president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, calls it a ‘bad deal.’
“You take a look at America and we are leading the world in reducing carbon dioxide because of the technical and innovative techniques that we have had.
“We know what we have heard about the Green New Deal- it’s prohibitively expensive.
“Predications up to $93 trillion.
“The net worth of the United States of all the homes and all the families is only $112 trillion and this alone would cost $93 trillion.
“You can go by how much it’s going to cost each individual family it’s completely unaffordable.
“It is not something that is workable.
“It is so far outside the American mainstream – even if it were affordable.
“So what we have seen here is the Democrats take another hard left return.
“The American Action Forum report reveals the staggering cost to American households.
"In just 10 years, the nation’s energy system would undergo a Washington makeover.
“The Green New Deal would end the use of energy sources that currently provide power to three-out-of-five homes and businesses in the United States.
“Think about the harm that would cause our economy.
“The Green New Deal mandates the use of expensive power sources that can’t keep the lights on.
“Wind and solar are important. We need more renewable energy in this country.
“But right now wind and solar currently provide less than 8 percent of our electricity.
“Should increase our use of renewables – absolutely.
“But eliminating affordable coal and natural gas would be a costly mistake – not only that, it’s impossible to do.
“Our electric grid couldn’t handle it.
“Last Month, the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed titled ‘The Green New Deal’s Impossible Electric Grid.’
“It’s written by Robert Blohm of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation.
“He writes that if the electric grid relies solely on renewable energy sources, ‘the grid itself may collapse.’
“And that’s not all we lose.
“Our transportation system also is in the crosshairs.
“The Green New Deal seeks to transform how Americans travel.
“It calls for an extensive and expensive national high-speed rail system to replace air travel.
“The state of California attempted to build a high-speed rail line between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
“But as it turns out, the price was too high – even for California!
“Governor Gavin Newsom recently canceled the line between San Francisco and Los Angeles – Why? Because of the massive cost.
“But it’s all part of the Green New Deal.
“The question is: if California can’t afford to build high-speed rail between two major cities, how can we afford to build a system that crisscrosses the country? We can’t.
“But the Green New Deal doesn’t stop at energy and travel.
“It extends to every building in the country.
“Homeowners would be forced to retrofit their houses.
“Businesses would have to do the same.
“This is what massive government overreach looks like.
“The rest of the world would continue to pollute, even if the country were to adopt something as extreme as the Green New Deal.
“It would cancel all of the gains we have made in the United States by the fact that our emissions continue to go down.
“In 2017, we produced just 13 percent of global emissions here in the United States.
“China and India together produced 33 percent of emissions – and their rising.
“Without drastic changes from India and China, global emissions will continue to climb.
“So even if all the Green New Deal’s costly mandates went in effect, and all of the punishment to our economy and country, there still would be no real effect on the Earth’s temperature.
“It’s no surprise that Democrats are trying to duck this big green bomb.
“Senate Democrats may even vote ‘present’ to avoid voting for their own extreme proposal that dozen of them have signed on as cosponsors .
“Including just about Democrat Senator who is running for president – they’ve all signed on.
“The green dream is unreachable.
“There is a proven way to reduce our emissions which is why I talked about a positive way with nuclear energy and with carbon capture.
“Things that have gathered the attention of the New York Times and of the front page of USA Today on Monday.
“So we’re going to continue to work. With the FUTURE Act. With the USE IT Act.
“The committee’s going to continue to work in a bipartisan way because Republicans are committed to find solutions through innovation; not taxation; not regulation.
“Solutions that do not hurt our strong, healthy, and growing economy.”