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The Wheaton Leader - Roskam, House Republicans Rail Against ‘Energy Tax'

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Location: Wheaton, IL

The Wheaton Leader - Roskam, House Republicans Rail Against ‘Energy Tax'

Roskam, House Republicans Rail Against ‘Energy Tax'

By Brian Hudson, Wheaton Leader Reporter

U.S. House Republicans including Rep. Peter Roskam, R-6th, of Wheaton, are ramping up their opposition to a climate change and energy bill moving through Congress that they say would burden industry with a "national energy tax."

In a conference call with reporters today, Roskam and several other representatives railed against a cap-and-trade bill designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They said the benchmarks in the proposal would hurt the manufacturing sector.

"Constituents in my district, they want to be governed with a light touch and not a heavy hand," Roskam said. "This is very much a heavy-handed approach that they didn't sign up for."

Developed since March, the American Clean Energy and Security Act would create pollution permits for carbon producers. At first, most of the allowances would be distributed for free, but gradually the number of available permits would go down each year, creating the cap.

Proponents say the bill will not only curb greenhouse emissions — 17 percent by 2020 from the 2005 level — but it will create jobs by encouraging investment in renewable energy.

The opponents speaking in Tuesday's conference call — all Republicans — said they did not think the green-energy technology was yet developed enough to take over powering industry. Republican lawmakers are meeting to develop an alternative proposal they say will focus on innovation.

"That's where we want to go as a group, pushing heavy on the innovative side," Roskam said.
He said the bill's requirements would increase costs for industry in his district, such as those along the Interstate 355 and Interstate 294 corridors.

"They are under tremendous pressure competing in an international marketplace," he said. "The last thing they need is an increased tax on their production at a time when their competitors overseas have clearly said, ‘We're not going to participate in this.'"

The House Republicans said they would continue to speak out against the bill in their home districts over the Memorial Day recess.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., is being discussed in the House committee on energy and commerce.

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