Thursday, May 13, 2010

More Reactions To Kerry-Lieberman American Power Act

May 12: At the roll out of the long-awaited details of their comprehensive energy and climate change legislation -- the 987-page American Power Act -- Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT), said the legislation would "create jobs, strengthen America's energy independence, safeguard our national security, and restore our global economic leadership for decades to come." The Senators also said The bill is "supported by a wide and deep coalition of business leaders, environmentalists, political leaders and others." In yesterday's coverage of the roll out WIMS included many statements from a diverse groups of supporters [See WIMS 5/12/10]. The following includes a number of additional statements -- many of which are unsure or not supporting the legislation.
    Senate Majority Harry Reid (D-NV) said: "The recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico demonstrates the urgent need to free our nation from its heavy dependence on oil and to create new clean energy industries and technologies. All Americans would benefit from a comprehensive national energy plan that creates millions of clean energy jobs, improves our national security and reduces pollution. . . As I work with Senators Kerry and Lieberman, the relevant committee chairs and the White House to move this process forward, I welcome the ideas of my colleagues to strengthen this proposal. To be successful we will need significant bipartisan cooperation, and I am hopeful Republicans will join us in working to further develop this bill so that it has broad support and can pass this year."
    Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who dropped out of the tripartisan effort with Senators Kerry and Lieberman issued a statement saying, " I don't believe any American finds the status quo acceptable. Many senators from both parties have stated that Congress should set energy and carbon pollution policy, not the EPA. I could not agree more. While I have not seen the changes made by Senators Kerry and Lieberman to the final product, I look forward to reviewing their proposal in regards to offshore drilling, the transportation sector, and other issues. I believe the broad concepts we came up with before are transformational and are the most consumer and business-friendly effort to date in dealing with carbon pollution. Most importantly, they can serve as a framework in allowing America to lead in the creation of alternative energy jobs and significantly reducing our dependency on foreign oil. With these goals in mind, I am interested in carefully reviewing the details of the new proposal."

    There was no immediate reaction from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, however, Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), persistent critic on the climate change issue and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works said: ". . .it's the same old cap-and-trade scheme that the Senate has defeated three times since 2003," Senator Inhofe said. "In fact, it has a strong resemblance to the disastrous Waxman-Markey bill.  Only now, along with paying skyrocketing electricity prices, consumers will pay a gas tax. . . The sooner we reject global warming cap-and-trade legislation, and get to work on an all-of the-above energy policy, the sooner the American public will have access to affordable, abundant, American-made energy."
    The Price Carbon Campaign including the Carbon Tax Center, Climate Crisis Coalition,  Citizens Climate Lobby and others which supports the "People's Climate Stewardship Act," i.e. "a "simple" carbon tax. proposed by Dr. James Hansen at the Climate Rally in Washington, DC, on April 25 [See WIMS 4/26/10] said: "The Kerry-Lieberman bill fails the acid test of climate legislation, which is to provide clear signals on emission prices. Investors, entrepreneurs and households all need certainty in future fuel and energy prices, but Kerry-Lieberman hides these crucial price signals behind a curtain of cap-and-trade. . . Instead of making needed investments in renewable energy, utilities will have the much cheaper option of investing in third-world projects aimed at cutting carbon. Most of these offsets do nothing to reduce current emissions, and they allow polluters in the U.S. to keep burning coal and other dirty fuels."
    The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) issued a statement saying the proposal reflects months of back-room negotiations between the senators, major polluters, and other Washington insiders. They said, "The climate proposal put forth today by Senators Kerry and Lieberman represents a disaster for our climate and planet. This proposal moves us one baby step forward and at least three giant steps back in any rational effort to address the climate crisis. The senators' proposal would entrench our addiction to fossil fuels by offering incentives for increased oil and gas drilling just days after what appears to be the worst offshore oil disaster in American history. . . The senators' weak targets will not reduce carbon pollution to below 350 ppm from its current level of 391 ppm. . ."
    The American Petroleum Institute (API) said: "This broad proposal reflects the complex relationship between the U.S. energy system and greenhouse gas emissions which come from every car, home, factory and farm in America. We are reviewing the released text to assess the proposal's possible impact on jobs, energy production, and consumers of oil and natural gas. However, until full legislative language has been thoroughly analyzed, any assessment would be guess work at best. We need reliable data and estimates on how the draft legislation would affect energy production, energy prices, consumers' budgets and the broader economy, in order to judge it on its merits. Moving away from the House Waxman-Markey approach was imperative. . ."
    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said, "The Chamber supports efforts to address energy security and climate change, and believes that any legislation must be comprehensive and bipartisan, and take into account a wide spectrum of issues including American jobs and our economy. . . The Kerry-Lieberman bill is a work in progress. Few in Congress or the business community have had a chance to review the entire bill. Once all the details of the bill are known, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) and the business community will need sufficient time to analyze the bill to ascertain its effects on the economy, jobs, the environment, and energy markets. As we undertake our own analysis of the legislation, we will work with our diverse membership to assess its impact on the business community. It will be critical to determine how this bill will impact a broad range of industries as well as America's energy security."
    The American Trucking Associations (ATA) said it cannot support the APA and said: "The bill will raise the cost of gasoline and diesel fuel without significantly reducing the output of carbon dioxide by the trucking industry, which is a non-discretionary user of diesel fuel. The Senate bill would require refiners to purchase billions of dollars worth of carbon allowances that correspond to the carbon footprint of the fuels they sell.  The refiners will then pass this cost on to consumers in the form of higher fuel prices.  As such, the Senate bill operates as a hidden multi-billion-dollar tax. . ."
    The National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA) said the APA should be rejected and indicated: "The draconian carbon reduction targets and timetables in this bill would trigger destructive change in America's economic climate. This would add billions of dollars in energy costs for American families and businesses, destroy the jobs of millions of American workers, and make our nation more dependent on foreign energy sources. America is a nation, not a planet, so it's a fantasy to pretend that restricting our carbon dioxide emissions will improve the environment if China, India and other large and rapidly industrializing nations don't adopt the same restrictions. Carbon dioxide doesn't stop at national borders. If senators want to increase the loss of manufacturing jobs in the United States and postpone the resurgence of the American economy, then they should vote for this bill. . ."
    The American Materials Manufacturing Alliance (AMMA), a group of energy-intensive, trade-exposed industries (EITEs) that includes The Aluminum Association, the American Chemistry Council (ACC), the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA), the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) and Portland Cement Association (PCA), issued a statement saying: "We believe that compared with past bills, the legislation released today invests more in U.S. manufacturing competitiveness.  However, in several key areas, more must be done to ensure the global competitiveness of EITEs and the retention of American jobs. . . the funding must be boosted significantly to meet the objective of keeping U.S. manufacturing competitive.  The bill also does not address increased energy costs: cost containment is key to preventing the transfer of U.S. manufacturing production and jobs to more carbon-intensive developing nations, known as 'carbon leakage.' . . Instead of fully pre-empting U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation of GHGs under the Clean Air Act, the bill preempts regulation only under specific sections, and only for 'covered' stationary sources. . .  The bill falls short of the uniformity needed to prevent uncertainty and delay in investments . . ."
    The blog, The Wonk Room, has posted an interesting table that compares key elements of Obama's campaign promises from 2007 and 2008, the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act as passed by the House of Representatives (H.R. 2454), and the elements of the Kerry-Lieberman draft legislation (see link below). Also, the U.S. Climate Action Network (USCAN) has established an APA website that includes the statements of many groups and organizations as well as letters, documents, links, analysis, videos, timelines and more.
    Access the statement from Senator Reid (click here). Access the statement from Senator Graham (click here). Access the statement from Senator Inhofe (click here). Access a release from the Price Carbon Campaign with links to other organizations (click here). Access the CBD statement (click here). Access the API statement (click here). Access a posting from the U.S. Chamber (click here). Access the ATA statement (click here). Access the statement from NPRA (click here). Access the statement from AMMA (click here). Access Senator Kerry's American Power Act website for links to complete information on the legislation (click here). Access the Wonk Room post (click here). Access the USCAN APA website (click here).