WASHINGTON, DC – The Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power took a strong stand today in support of jobs and against higher gasoline and energy costs by approving H.R. 910, the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011. The bipartisan measure passed by voice vote, and no amendments were offered. The bill now moves to the full Energy and Commerce Committee for consideration, with a markup scheduled for early next week, commencing with opening statements Monday afternoon.
“The Energy Tax Prevention Act is not about global warming science, it is about stopping regulations certain to do more harm than good, regardless of how one interprets the science,” said Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY). “It is about a dangerous and job destroying attempt to transform the economy in ways Congress has repeatedly rejected.”
“EPA’s regulations are a backdoor attempt by unelected bureaucrats to implement the highly unpopular cap-and-trade legislation that was rejected last year,” said Upton. “These rules are about as out-of-touch with what the American people want as anything moving forward in Washington – this is especially so, given what the rules would do to already-soaring gasoline prices. This committee and others will soon turn our attention to removing other Obama administration roadblocks to domestic energy production, but our first order of business is to stop EPA’s gas price-raising global warming regulations. High energy prices not only hurt households, they burden small businesses and farmers as well.”
The Energy Tax Prevention Act is designed to stop the EPA from using the Clean Air Act to unilaterally impose greenhouse gases regulations to address climate change. Unless Congress intervenes, the EPA’s efforts to impose a cap-and-trade agenda threaten to drive gas prices even higher, increase utility rates, send manufacturing jobs overseas, and hamstring our economic recovery.
Previous congressional efforts to regulate and put a price on greenhouse gas emissions were estimated to increase the price of a gallon of gasoline by 19 cents in 2015 and 95 cents in 2050. Because EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations are designed to achieve the same goals as cap-and-trade legislation, and because such regulations would directly impact domestic refineries, the regulations are similarly expected to drive up the price of gasoline.
For America’s refiners, EPA’s rules are already translating into lower domestic output, and it will only get worse if the agency is allowed to move forward with its rules. EPA’s greenhouse gas rules would hamper production at existing facilities while also discouraging needed expansions, resulting in higher motor fuel prices and lost jobs in the energy industry. Steven Cousins, Vice President of Arkansas refiner Lion Oil Company, recently testified, “The legislation [HR910] is also necessary to protect consumers, farmers, and truckers from higher gasoline and diesel fuel prices.”
Estimates are not available for the full cost of the litany of regulations being proposed and contemplated by the EPA, in large measure because the EPA has refused to conduct an economic analysis. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson herself has suggested greenhouse gas regulation is expected to impose even greater economic costs than the bills that ultimately failed in Congress, stating, “Legislation is so important, because it will combine the most efficient, most economy-wide, least costly (and) least disruptive way to deal with carbon dioxide pollution. We get further faster without top-down regulation.”
In drafting the Energy Tax Prevention Act (H.R. 910), Upton and Whitfield worked to protect and maintain EPA’s ability and obligation to regulate and mitigate air pollutants like particulates that cause soot, ozone that causes smog, and almost 200 other air pollutants. H.R. 910 merely ensures that the Clean Air Act is not misused for a carbon cap-and-tax of greenhouse gas emissions it was never designed for.