WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI), ranking Republican of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Environment, put Michigan jobs and Michigan families first Friday (June 26th) as the House considered cap-and-trade legislation, H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES) of 2009. Upton, who strongly opposes a national energy tax, does believe that we must reduce our carbon emissions and promote the development of clean energy—whether it be nuclear power, clean coal technologies or renewables like wind, solar and hydro power. Despite the opposition of Upton and 44 House Democrats, the measure passed the House by a vote of 219 to 212.
“Climate change is a serious problem that necessitates serious solutions, but cap-and-tax is a vicious assault on Michigan’s working families who are already struggling to put food on the table and keep the lights on,” said Upton. “Study after study has indicated that families can expect to see their power bills increase by thousands of dollars and jobs will be lost at a time when we can least afford it – Consumers Energy in southwest Michigan predicts hefty rate increases for local families in order to comply with cap-and-tax. It is well past time that we start standing up for Michigan’s working families who have watched their paychecks, jobs and savings evaporate. We have a unique opportunity and a responsibility to reduce emissions and preserve our economy – the American public is desperate for solutions, but a national energy tax is not the answer.”
The proposed carbon mandates under consideration would mean that the United States could not emit more in the year 2050 than we emitted in 1910. This is a daunting task considering that in 1910 the United States had only 92 million people, compared to an estimated 420 million in 2050. The only nations in the world today that emit at the proposed levels are struggling nations, such as Belize, Jordan, Haiti, and Somalia. In order to reach the 80 percent reduction required by cap-and-tax, emissions from the transportation sector would have to drop to zero, as would those from all electricity generation, and the U.S. would still need to reduce all other sources of greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent.
The predicted costs are staggering. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) conservatively estimated that rolling back the clock to reach 1910 emissions levels would cost $864 billion, while some estimates put the number closer to $1.5 trillion. Utility bills could increase 40-50 percent, and that will only make our business climate worse at this most critical time. According to some studies, the reckless cap-and-tax scheme will kill millions of jobs and dramatically increase utility costs for the average American household. CBO also estimated that gasoline costs would increase by 77 cents per gallon and diesel by 88 cents, fostering a greater reliance on imported oil.
Upton did seek to improve the legislation with constructive amendments, but his efforts were blocked. Upton worked with Indiana Democrat Rep. Baron Hill to add a nuclear power component to the legislation, but the amendment was blocked along with his other improvements.
“In addition to the alarming costs to Michigan’s businesses and families, it is equally confounding that the 1,200+ page bill ignores the very source that accounts for 73 percent of all of our nation’s emissions-free electricity: nuclear power,” said Upton. “It defies common sense to ignore nuclear as a reliable solution to address climate change. It is possible to reduce emissions and create jobs – we have got to get our priorities straightened out. Nuclear is not only emissions-free, but renewing our commitment to nuclear power will create countless jobs at a time when our nation endures near double-digit unemployment.”
Upton strongly supports the “all of the above” American Energy Act, H.R. 2846, which calls for the construction of 100 new nuclear reactors over the next 20 years. The expansion of nuclear power would create hundreds of thousands of good-paying, high-skilled and permanent jobs. According to data from Oxford Economics, building 100 new nuclear reactors and an appropriate number of enrichment and reprocessing plants over the next 20 years would create 356,000 manufacturing and construction jobs, 242,000 permanent jobs, and an additional 404,000 jobs from induced economic activity. In total, this amounts to over 1 million new jobs.
Upton also believes that meaningful climate change requires global participation, especially that of India and China, but efforts to include the world’s leading emitters in the legislation were blocked.
In late May, the Energy Information Administration released its forecast predicting that global energy demand is expected to soar 44 percent over the next two decades – with most of the demand coming from developing countries such as China and India. Without international participation, jobs and emissions will simply shift overseas to countries that require few, if any, environmental protections, harming the global environment as well as the U.S. economy.
Source: News release from Congressman Fred Upton