<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Washington, D.C., March 29, 2006—Next week’s scheduled Senate hearing on mandatory greenhouse gas emissions limits misses a valuable opportunity to present a representative view of the debate on the topic. Instead of soliciting testimony from a range of views, Energy & Natural Resources Committee Chairman Pete Domenici (R-NM) and Ranking Member Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) have stacked the witness list with alarmist environmental activist groups and opportunistic corporations trying to profit from the artificial scarcity that would be imposed by caps on carbon emissions. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
“Not only have Senators Domenici and Bingaman refused to include reasonable input from skeptics of an emissions trading scheme, they seem to have forgotten to include a representative from the one corporation which most enthusiastically embraced emissions credits – Enron,” said Competitive Enterprise Institute President Fred L. Smith, Jr. “Many of Enron’s former employees would no doubt have been happy to remind the committee of the company’s strong lobbying for carbon caps and emissions trading and their plans to profit massively under such a system.”
An emissions trading program of the kind envisioned by Domenici and Bingaman would amount to an undeclared tax on energy, raising costs to consumers and disadvantaging energy-intensive industry to the profit of a handful of well-positioned corporations. Enforcing arbitrary limits on energy use throughout the economy would have a disproportionate effect on small and medium sized businesses and likely force a significant portion of U.S. manufacturing jobs overseas where such restrictions are not in effect.
“The witness list indicates that Domenici and Bingaman have already decided to take the country down an expensive, inequitable and unnecessary path toward energy starvation,” said Director of Energy Policy Myron Ebell. “Without a significant voice for critics of a greenhouse gas emissions scheme, the hearing amounts to little more than cheerleading for the Senators’ pet policies rather than an attempt to educate or enlighten.”