The desire for clean air, clean water and a safe environment are important goals shared by everyone. I support responsible environmental legislation that protects the environment, while also protecting the rights of individuals and businesses. HR 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, known as "Cap and Trade" or "Cap and Tax", does not achieve a balance between protecting the environment and protecting our constitutional rights. The potential benefits of the bill are questionable and, if they exist, negligible at best. The harm done to the economy, via lost jobs, lost economic output, increased costs to the consumer are significant.
The current legislation gives little, if any, consideration to the economic needs of the nation. It begins with an unproven assumption that there exists a link between the mandates in the legislation and the supposed positive impact to the environment. Neither the assumed link nor the supposed benefits are objectively verifiable.
The Act furthermore inaccurately claims to employ a method of "Cap and Trade," when, in fact, the method used in the Act or more analogous to a "Cap, Tax, and Auction" method. The latter method violates basic principles of free market economics and will stunt, if not reverse, economic growth.
Environmental Policy Must Be Based on Scientific Fact
* The problem of acid rain was objectively observed in the harm to streams, lakes, wildlife, foliage and even manmade structures. The link between manmade carbon emissions and measureable harm to the environment is a topic currently under debate. While there may exist a link, the current debate continues. Recent discoveries of manipulated temperature data as well as the February 26, 2010 United Nations announcement that it will revisit the climate change data and data gathering techniques, indicates sufficient unknown factors exist so as to preclude the creation of harmful economic policies. The citizens of our nation should not be required to undergo economic hardship when the benefit, if any exists, is questionable.
Environmental Concerns Should Employ Free Market Principles: No new Taxes
* HR 2454 requires the government auction off emission credits to the public. Companies will be required to purchase these credits in order to continue operations. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates these auctions will generate $873 billion in government receipts over ten years. Firms will obviously pass along these costs to the consumer. A detailed analysis by the Heritage Foundation places the annual cost to a family of four at $1,870 initially, growing to $6,800. Citizens should not be required to bear these costs, especially in light of the large number of uncertainties surrounding the legislation.
The EPA Must Be Accountable to the Public and Work with Businesses
* Many public utilities and other firms have been pressured into accepting some version of the Cap and Trade legislation in order to avoid much more onerous regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency. Under the Obama administration, the EPA has become a highly ideological entity. This has prevented meaningful dialogue and increased the polarizing tone in Washington. The EPA must refrain from imposing punitive measures as a means to force cooperation of businesses. A complete review of the EPA and its charter must be conducted by congress immediately.
Environmental policy must be grounded in sound science, economic realities and discussed in a spirit of mutual respect. I am committed to ensuring the environment is protected and the economy is strong. There is every reason to believe both goals can be accomplished.