Vitter's View: President's Cap and Tax Proposal Will Suffocate Louisiana's Economy
Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency declared that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are pollutants that harm public health and welfare. The EPA's formal declaration means that it can soon begin regulating those gases for the first time.
I am deeply concerned that the Obama administration and its allies in Congress will attempt to use the EPA's action as political cover for implementing a so-called "cap-and-trade" scheme. Such a move would make energy more expensive and jobs more scarce, putting a tremendous burden on American families who are already struggling to make ends meet. It would particularly hurt Louisiana because our economy is so dependent on oil and gas production.
The most recent version of a cap-and-trade scheme would set limits on how much carbon dioxide our factories and power plants could emit each year. If the cap is exceeded by a particular company, that company would have to purchase an offset, which would be traded on an open market like such commodities as oil or gold. Those offsets could be purchased by other companies and artificially inflated, drastically raising expenses for companies across America, which would in turn be passed onto the consumer. This would essentially be a tax on U.S. energy producers and -- ultimately -- American families.
President Obama has made clear that he supports such a "cap-and-tax" system -- a system that would limit America's sovereignty by giving control of a major part of our economy to other nations who do not have our best interests in mind. Previous international treaties like the Kyoto Protocol have proven unenforceable, and there is no reason to believe this time would be any different.
Some of the worst polluters in the world are two of the world's fastest-growing economic powers: China and India. By limiting our ability to produce low-cost and reliable energy and create jobs, we would allow these other countries to continue their rapid expansion at our expense as they continue to use their abundant oil and coal resources while ignoring the weak international treaties.
I'm fighting against these efforts by the radical environmental left to impose its will on American families. In the U.S. Senate, I recently passed an amendment to the president's budget proposal that would prevent new regulations from driving up the cost of domestic energy production on the Outer Continental Shelf and elsewhere.
If the Obama administration wants to curb greenhouse gases, the way to do it is not by stifling our growth at home while enabling other countries to continue growing and taking our jobs overseas. Instead, we need to continue to develop newer, cleaner sources of energy, such as nuclear power, while also focusing on sensible land and pollution management and developing the resources that we already have.
Please let me know about any issues of importance to you and your family by contacting me at any of my state offices or in my Washington office by mail at U.S. Senator David Vitter, U.S. Senate, 516 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510, or by phone at 202-224-4623. You can also reach me on the web at http://vitter.senate.gov.