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Bill abandons Midwest and rewards liberals on the coasts

July 09, 2009

Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s energy bill is intended to make the planet greener, but it will leave Ohioans and other Midwesterners seeing red. The Waxman-Markey bill, also known as Cap and Trade, should be known as Cap and Tax. In an answer to the liberal left’s demands, Pelosi and Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman have tied climate change legislation to energy reform mandates that have resulted in the Democrats proposing a national energy tax increase that would impose unprecedented energy mandates that result in higher costs for nearly every good and service individuals need.

Nearly every person who drives a car, heats a building or even turns on a light switch will see their energy prices go up under Cap and Trade. Not just residential rates, but businesses’ energy prices will rise, too. Business owners likely will increase the costs of their goods or services to compensate for higher energy bills, hitting everyday Ohioans with a double-whammy.

Specifically, the Cap and Trade bill caps the amount of carbon emissions an energy supplier can release, putting the units of carbon emissions up for auction and letting users (like power companies) bid on them. It also includes renewable energy mandates that suppliers must comply with in order to prevent fines being imposed. In one central Ohio suburb, experts estimate residents could see their electricity costs soar by as much as $1,600, costing residents $23 million per year in today’s dollars by the time 2030 rolls around. That doesn’t even take in to account an estimated 75 cent per gallon increase in gas prices, solely as a result of this legislation. In addition, those renewable energy mandates included in this bill will have to be implemented and absorbed by energy customers.

What makes all this even worse is the Cap and Trade bill disproportionately affects Ohio and other Midwestern states. The bill picks winners and losers, and unfortunately, we’re losers. Pelosi and Waxman, both of California, make sure this bill punishes states that get their electricity from coal, not from other sources. In Ohio, 86 percent of our electricity is produced by coal. Coastal states quite literally will barely be impacted by this legislation, to the point where modifications to the bill had to be made to prevent states like California and Washington from profiting. Meanwhile, folks in the middle, including in the Midwest, will be forking over money by the fistful.

It doesn’t have to be like this. I support an energy reform plan that provides incentives for America’s energy producers to transition to new, clean, reliable energy sources, expand energy production and promote conservation and efficiency. It’s an all of the above energy plan that puts us on the path toward energy independence while creating American jobs, not breaking the backs of small business owners and whittling down families’ budgets.

There is a right way and a wrong way to proceed with energy reform. Tax increases, mandates and winner and loser labels aren’t the way. This measure will only put families in a tighter economic bind and pit states against each other. Experts say it will result in job loses as taxes increase and send companies overseas where they won’t have to work around energy mandates. This bill is bad news for Ohio families, bad news for Ohio workers and bad news for the future prosperity of this country.