GOP Expects Dems to Back Bill Killing ‘Backdoor Cap and Trade’
By James P. Tucker Jr.
REPUBLICANS EXPECT conservative Democrats to back legislation introduced into the House and the Senate that will permanently bar the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating so-called greenhouse gases. It’s part of a plan to prevent the White House from bypassing Congress in order to impose costly reforms on U.S. corporations that some contend will drive even more factories from U.S. shores in search of lesser-developed nations that care nothing about pollution.
The House version of the bill (H.R. 910) was coauthored by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman EdWhitfield (R-Ky.). It was introduced March 3 and has already picked up nine cosponsors.
Companion legislation (S. 482) was introduced in the Senate on March 3 by Sen. James Inhofe (ROkla.). It has been sent to the Environment and Public Works Committee and has 43 cosponsors.
In a statement, Upton called the EPA’s move to start regulating carbon emissions “backdoor cap and trade.”
“Cap and trade” refers to a complex system for controlling carbon emissions by U.S. factories that is being promoted by some in Congress and Wall Street.
Fiscal conservatives contend that cap and trade will likely lead to higher prices for gas and oil for everyday Americans as corporations shift the increased costs of regulations to Main Street.
“Whether at the pump or on their monthly utility bills, American families, farmers, and employers feel the pinch when energy prices go up,” said Upton in a statement. “The very last thing the federal government should do is make matters worse by intentionally driving up the cost of energy. Yet that is exactly what’s in store if the EPA moves forward with its plans to regulate and penalize carbon emissions under the Clean Air Act.”
Kevin Knobloch, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists, disagrees. He believes Republicans are pushing the legislation at the behest of multinational corporations, which care only about putting profits above the country’s air and water.
Specifically, the bill would prevent the EPA from enforcing the Clean Air Act, which mandates carbon emissions from factories as well as truck and car emissions, says Knobloch.
“The Clean Air Act . . . says that when scientists identify a pollutant that threatens public health and welfare, the government must act,” said Knobloch. “But now Rep. Upton, working at the behest of oil companies and other big polluters, wants the government to shirk that responsibility.”
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(Issue # 12, March 21, 2011)