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The Impact Of Cap-And-Trade On Manufacturers Using Coal-Generated Energy

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. AUSTRIA. I thank the gentleman for yielding. And I want to thank the gentlewoman from Oklahoma for putting things in perspective. I think you did a very good job of laying things out. It certainly applies to Ohio. And to the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Latta), thank you for your work in Ohio. I have had an opportunity to serve with you for 10 years in the State legislature. Together we worked on some good things to move our State forward, comprehensive tax reform that lowered income taxes for families and small businesses. We helped to make Ohio more business friendly, especially in the manufacturing industry, by phasing out tangible personal property tax and corporate franchise tax.

When we look at the proposals before Congress today, this cap-and-trade proposal, on the surface, it sounds harmless. But it isn't. It is not, for the reasons that the gentlelady from Oklahoma just talked about. It hurts Ohioans as far as jobs, as far as businesses, and it is not a good thing. This proposal is going to increase the price of the cost of energy and the price for anyone who turns on a TV or fills up their gas tank or turns on the heat in the winter. Their cost of energy is going to go up.

The Congressional Budget Office, in the initial proposal that was brought forth by this administration, estimated that the cost of energy in the average household will go up approximately $1,600 per year. We have seen figures as high as $3,000 per year by MIT and other credible organizations that are following this very closely. So the cost of energy is going to go up on not just Ohioans, but all Americans.

And I think at a time when we are struggling economically, we are going through an economic crisis, it is not the time to be raising the cost of energy on families and small businesses like we are going to be doing with cap-and-trade if this moves forward.

Let me also point out the fact in our State, in Ohio, as in many other States, in Ohio, manufacturing and agriculture are the two top industries in our State and will get hit the hardest with cap-and-trade. As was just mentioned by the previous speaker, manufacturing jobs will be at stake. American companies will be less competitive internationally against other countries that will not be playing by the same rules, that will not have the same regulations on them like China and India, and will put them at a disadvantage from a competitive standpoint. That in turn is going to cost jobs.

Ohio, again, as in many of the other Midwest States across our country that are heavily into manufacturing, is going to get hit the hardest by this. And this is not a good thing for that industry, as well as the agriculture industry, as was just mentioned, which relies heavily on fuels for tractors, for transporting crops and going to the store and so forth. So it is going to increase the costs of energy as well as hurting those who are trying to do business in the State of Ohio as well as job loss.

I also want to point out one other factor for our State, which I know is very diversified from State to State, on the chart that you put up previously. In the State of Ohio, 87 percent of our fuel, of our energy comes from coal. And coal will be hit directly by the cap-and-trade. It is going to put mandates on undeveloped technologies for coal-fired plants. In some cases, coal-fired plants may not even be able to comply with this, and they may have to close down. And that too could cost jobs in the State of Ohio.

So when you look at the cap-and-trade and the way this is put together, it should be called a ``cap-and-tax'' as many of the other Members had mentioned because, Mr. Speaker, I think clearly this is a cost that is being passed on to every American.

And Republicans, as was mentioned, do have an alternative. I think we all want to see cleaner energy. We all want to see more efficient energy. But we do have an alternative plan that is out there that will have less reliance on foreign oil, that would look at the resources that we have available in this country, that would help us produce and make us more energy independent, give us more energy independence with increased exploration and development of new and renewable energy sources, to help promote alternative forms of energy like solar, like wind and other alternative sources of energy that are out there. So we do have an alternative way to get to where we want to go.

Again, I think the cap-and-trade doesn't make sense for Ohio, and it is going to cost jobs. It is going to put an increase in the cost of energy for all Americans. And I think we can do a better job and have a better alternative out there that we should be pursuing.

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