Washington, D.C., January 24, 2007—Draft global warming legislation from Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) is being billed as a moderate middle way to control greenhouse gas emissions, but in fact it will increase consumer energy costs, chill investment in new coal-fired power plants, and usher in a new era of anti-energy litigation.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />
An analysis by the Energy Information Administration shows that the Bingaman plan will increase coal prices by 81 percent and reduces the growth of coal capacity by half. As a result, consumers' electricity bills in 2030 would be 11 percent higher than what they otherwise would have been.
“But EIA’s analysis doesn’t take into account the political dynamic that would be unleashed,” said CEI Senior Fellow Marlo Lewis. “The whole point of this exercise is to change what the fight in Washington is about. Instead of debating whether to suppress fossil energy use, we'll continually have to debate how much and how fast to suppress it.”
Moreover, since Congress will have effectively classified carbon dioxide (CO2) as a regulated pollutant, green groups and State attorneys general will sue EPA to set National Ambient Air Quality Standards for CO2. “Anyone who thinks Bingaman's plan offers regulatory certainty is naive. The only certainty is that regulatory costs will grow unpredictably,” said Lewis.
“The Bingaman bill is like the misleading sales pitches used car salesmen once used,” said Myron Ebell, Director of Energy and Global Warming Policy. “They get you to buy because the first month’s payment is only $49. But the next month you notice that all the other payments are $499.”