CEI Comment on Waxman-Markey Energy Bill

Waxman-Markey Cap-and-Tax Bill Should Be Dead on Arrival; Energy Rationing Would Hurt Consumers and Workers

Washington, D.C., March 31, 2009—Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA) today released a 648-page draft bill for rationing energy use in the United States.  Energy policy experts from the Competitive Enterprise Institute offered initial reactions to the Clean Energy and Security Act.

Statement by Myron Ebell, CEI Director of Energy and Global Warming Policy

The Waxman-Markey draft “Clean Energy and Security Act” released today should be dead on arrival. We will work to see that it dies as quickly as possible. Waxman and Markey blithely set targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions without any serious analysis or even awareness of the colossal costs of energy rationing to American consumers, workers, and industry.

If enacted, the bill’s cap-and-trade scheme would be a governor on the economy that would permanently limit economic growth at best and produce perpetual stagnation and decline at worst. Other major provisions of the bill would compound the economic damage.

Representatives Waxman and Markey’s draft bill would raise energy prices through the roof and hurt poorer Americans the most. It would destroy tens of millions of good-paying jobs. Beyond these enormous economic costs, Waxman-Markey would put big government in charge of how much energy people can use. It would be the biggest government intervention in people’s lives since the Second World War, which was the last time people had to have rationing coupons in order to buy a gallon of gas.

Statement by Iain Murray, CEI Senior Fellow

The bill as drafted clears the way for carbon protectionism. It envisages “rebates” to companies that have to pay higher costs than their international competitors, which amounts to illegal state aid under World Trade Organization rules. Further, it directs the president to institute what is laughably called a “border adjustment” program requiring foreign companies to pay for the cost of carbon. This is nothing more than a tariff aimed at eliminating the competitive advantage of other nations. Taken together, these provisions represent the first shot in what is likely to prove a disastrous carbon trade war.

Statement by Marlo Lewis, CEI Senior Fellow

Sections 831-834 of plan exempts carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from climate change regulation under the Clean Air Act’s National Ambient Air Quality Standards program, New Source Review program, Hazardous Air Pollutant program, and Title V operating permits program.

This is tacit admission that free-market and industry analysts were correct when they warned that the Environmental Protection Agency could not control the cascading effects of Clean Air Act regulation of carbon dioxide once it starts, and that the Supreme Court’s Massachusetts v. EPA decision has set the stage for an economy-choking regulatory morass.

For ongoing commentary on energy issues, visit globalwarming.org.