Camp Opening Statement: Hearing on Addressing Price Volatility in Climate Change Legislation

March 26, 2009 — Opening Statements   


Thank you for yielding, Mr. Chairman.

The issue of price volatility in climate change legislation is a critical issue for this committee to consider, and I am pleased that the Full Committee and our relevant Subcommittees are taking the appropriate time to study the complex issues of cap-and-tax.

Many of our witnesses today will get into great detail about the varying methods to deal with this volatility.  But there is a larger issue I would like to raise: the certain impact on American families, especially the increases in electricity rates they will face under the President’s proposal.

At this time I would like to submit for the record a state-by-state analysis of annual increases in electricity costs that would occur under a 100% auction, as the President has called for, to meet the President’s target carbon emission reductions.

In my home state of Michigan, electricity price increases total $6.7 billion – $668 for every man, woman and child – $2,676 for a family of four.  Those are staggering costs for families to pay, especially in these already difficult economic times. 

We have price information for every state and broken down for every Member of the Committee so you can see the impact on your constituents.  Let me warn you: in almost every case, these increases in electricity rates alone would exceed the full Make Work Pay Benefit.

I know some will say this analysis doesn’t take everything into consideration.  You are right: this does not even begin to consider price fluctuations in other utilities, let alone goods and services.  This is simply the impact of cap-and-tax on electricity prices.

No one, I repeat, no one, is arguing against reducing carbon emissions.  Each of us in this room – including those from coal states – has long advocated for the greater use of clean, renewal energy sources.

In fact, with the help of this Committee and when Republicans were in charge of Congress, we implemented:

• Clean renewable energy bonds
• Tax credits for production of wind, solar and advanced nuclear power
• Energy efficient new homes tax credit
• Energy efficient appliance tax credit
• Alternative motor vehicle tax credit (one I am particularly proud of)
• Alternative fuel vehicle refueling property tax credit
• Tax credits for biodiesel and renewable diesel used as fuel
• A tax credit for residential energy efficient property
And the list goes on and on.

These incentives are making a difference.  If you look at the latest scientific data available, U.S. emissions have been relatively flat and even decreased in 2006 (the last year for which data is available) – this despite a booming economy for those years.

So, my question today is this: when carrots work, why is this committee so readily resorting to the stick?  The severe costs and penalties of a cap-and-tax system will cause hardships for American families and eliminate American jobs – as Dr. Margo Thorning, the Senior Vice President and Chief Economist with the American Council for Capital Formation, will testify.

Mr. Chairman, I will repeat what I have said in the past and something every expert agrees to: unilateral action by the U.S. will not impact climate change, but it will put millions of Americans out of work.  That is not a solution, let alone one this committee should endorse.

With that, I yield back the balance of my time. 

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


SUBCOMMITTEE: Full Committee