Federal legislation to reduce global warming by putting a price on carbon emissions from power plants will result in an 18 percent rate increase for PacifiCorp customers in Oregon during the bill's first year of implementation, according to data released yesterday at a congressional hearing in Washington, D.C.
"The 553,000 Oregon ratepayers of PacifiCorp will pay $163 million more for their electricity in 2012 alone as a result of the Waxman-Markey national energy tax," said U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee's panel that heard testimony from various witnesses, including the head of PacifiCorp's holding Company, Mid-American Energy.
"Think of the harm that a whopping increase in power costs will do to family budgets, small businesses and jobs. Moreover, we just learned that the bill generates $846 billion in new revenue to the federal government through what amounts to a national energy tax, according to the Congressional Budget Office. If you're concerned about the government takeover of the auto industry, I'm afraid it is a precursor to what this legislation will do to put the federal government in the driver's seat of the energy sector of our economy," Walden said.
The Waxman-Markey bill passed the Energy and Commerce Committee in May with four Democrats voting against the proposal. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has expressed her strong desire to pass the bill out of the House.
"This is the same legislation that says woody biomass off most of our federal forest lands isn't a renewable energy source," Walden said. "It says most hydroelectricity is not renewable energy. And it sets up a risky carbon trading scheme that allows Wall Street traders and hedge funds to compete for carbon credits with power providers driving up the cost of electricity for all of us," Walden said.
Representative Greg Walden represents the Oregon's Second Congressional District, which is comprised of 20 counties in eastern, southern, and central Oregon. He is a member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce and the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.