Congressman Jim Matheson today issued the following statement after the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved the Waxman/Markey bill.
"Our country faces two significant energy issues. First, we must reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Second we must address the issue of climate change. To meet these challenges, we need to implement policies that will encourage innovation of new technologies that provide better energy options.
As a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, I have been asked to digest over 1600 pages of text and hundreds of amendments in the past six days. This is no small task. I have taken a thoughtful approach to help shape legislation to meet our country's energy needs. The legislation has evolved in a number of positive ways over the past few days and it will continue to evolve as it is considered by eight other House committees this summer.
I began this process by raising 14 significant concerns about the draft legislation. Some have been addressed, some have not and new concerns have developed as the legislation was shaped.
I am concerned with the bill's very aggressive reduction target that assumes big technological leaps that may not happen. If the technology doesn't develop, there could be significant costs.
The legislation could have done a better job of addressing renewable energy issues. To effectively deploy renewable energy resources in this country, national electric transmission policy must be updated to allow for construction of more transmission lines. Otherwise, we will not be able to deliver renewable energy to consumers.
Federal fuels policy also needs to be addressed. Our current policy of corn-based ethanol is flawed and it should end. In its place we should have a fuel standard that does not pick winners and losers.
In addition, language was added to the legislation related to commodities trading markets that would lead to unnecessary increases in energy costs. While increased transparency and accountability should be brought to these markets, the legislation goes way too far.
Finally, I continue to have concerns with regional income transfers that would result from the legislation. It is important that policy is fair to all regions of the country.
I voted no because of the concerns that I have, but I will continue to work on this legislation. It is so important to me that we get this right.