Energy and Power Subcommittee Questions EPA Administrator on Runaway Regulations, Hears from Job Creators Speaking Out Against Cap-and-Trade Regulations

February 9, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power, chaired by Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), today heard directly from stakeholders affected by the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) controversial regulatory agenda during an examination of the Energy Tax Prevention Act.  Subcommittee members also questioned EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson on a range of actions and proposals from her agency that will drive up the cost of energy and make America less competitive. The draft legislation that was the subject of today's hearing is a sensible, narrowly crafted "fix" to clarify that the Clean Air Act was never intended to be used to impose cap-and-trade by regulation.

"Today's hearing was the first of what I expect to be many on the Environmental Protection Agency's regulatory agenda," said Whitfield. "While today's hearing was a good start in reasserting Congress' authority in helping set national policy affecting the environment as well as economic growth and job creation, I feel that many more questions were left unanswered. I look forward to Administrator Jackson's return to our Subcommittee in the future to continue this discussion and examine how we can develop an agenda that protects human health and the environment while also protecting and growing jobs."

CLICK HERE for opening statements and witness testimony from today's hearing.

Harry Alford, President and CEO, National Black Chamber of Commerce, highlighted the damaging impact the new regulations will have on low income families, stating, "(T)he Center on Budget and Policy Priorities finds that, for the poorest 20 percent of our population, cap-and-trade increases the cost of home energy by 45 percent, motor fuel by 25 percent and other consumption such as groceries by 35 percent.  Given the current state of our economy, EPA's implementation of cap-and-trade regulations will only victimize further the most vulnerable in our society.  Public policy must be based on mutual respect and justice for all citizens.  EPA's back-door approach to regulating greenhouse gas emissions thus fails America's less fortunate miserable."

Farmers will also suffer under a cap-and-trade regime, noted Philip Nelson, President of the Illinois Farm Bureau. "Farmers and ranchers receive a double economic jolt from the regulation of GHG from stationary sources.  First, any costs incurred by utilities, refiners, manufacturers and other large emitters to comply with GHG regulatory requirements will be passed on to the consumers of those products, including farmers and ranchers.  As a result, our nation's farmers will have higher input costs, namely fuel and energy costs to grow food, fiber and fuel for our nation and the world."

Full Committee Chairman Fred Upton, who coauthored the draft legislation with Rep. Whitfield, vowed, "This Congress will stand up and fight for American jobs and families.  Cap-and-trade legislation failed in the last Congress, but now we face the threat of Environmental Protection Agency bureaucrats imposing the same agenda through a series of regulations.  This is the most disappointingly slow economic recovery we have ever experienced, with unemployment at 9 percent.  We need to take action to unleash our free enterprise system, the greatest job creator ever devised.  The Energy Tax Prevention Act would be a great start."
Specifically, "The Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011" would:

  • Stop EPA bureaucrats from making legislative decisions that should be made by Congress;  
  • Clarify that the Clean Air Act was not written by Congress to address climate change;
  • Stop EPA bureaucrats from imposing a backdoor cap-and-trade tax that would make gasoline, electricity, fertilizer, and groceries more expensive for consumers; and
  • Protect American jobs and manufacturers from overreaching EPA regulations that hinder our ability to compete with China and other countries.

Chairman Upton emphasized that the Energy Tax Prevention Act does not weaken the Clean Air Act or limit EPA's ability to monitor and reduce pollutants that damage public health, stating, "I have looked back at the comments made by the authors of the revisions to the Clean Air Act in the early 1990s, and I am confident that our bill actually restores the Clean Air Act to its intended purpose."

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott testified, "The Energy Tax Prevention Act will also help prevent the EPA from stifling the fragile signs of economic recovery and job growth that are finally appearing as Texas and other states begin to emerge from a difficult economic downturn.  By bringing an end to the EPA's job-killing greenhouse gas regulations, Congress can remove a direct burden on the energy, manufacturing, and agricultural sectors, potentially saving thousands of jobs."

Energy and Power Subcommittee Vice Chairman John Sullivan added, "Being good stewards of our planet should not be a partisan issue - it is something that benefits us all.  Unfortunately, the EPA and the Obama Administration are willing to sacrifice economic growth and jobs while at the same time, doing little to protect the environment.  The Energy Tax Prevention Act is about protecting American jobs by preventing the EPA from unilaterally imposing a costly cap and trade style regulatory tax on the American people."

Text of "The Energy Tax Prevention Act" can be found online HERE.

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