Thursday, July 9, 2009

Senator Robert Byrd Blasts Cap 'n Tax

Sen. Robert Byrd's (D-WVa) statement on Cap 'n Tax:

"I cannot support the House bill in its present form. I continue to believe that clean coal can be a 'green' energy. Those of us who understand coal's great potential in our quest for energy independence must continue to work diligently in shaping a climate bill that will ensure access to affordable energy for West Virginians. I remain bullish about the future of coal, and am so very proud of the miners who labor and toil in the coalfields of West Virginia."

Citizens in West Virginia are mobilizing against Cap and Trade with two July 18 events of protest. Mike Stuart, president of the West Virginia Conservative Foundation, says "Plain and simple, this is an energy tax and a tax on all Americans," he said. "This would be the most devastating bill in the history of our country. It's a bad bill, and it's gotta die." All three of West Virginia's Representatives voted against the bill.

In Kentucky, another coal state, State Rep. Jim Gooch said "If cap-and-trade legislation clears the U.S. Senate, Kentuckians will see a significant increase in the cost of electricity and a loss of jobs in the steel and aluminum industries." Gooch is concerned about the state's steel industry.

"Kentucky has 30 percent of the nation's stainless steel production, and between 30 and 40 percent of the aluminum production. Those plants will go overseas if we lose our cheap electricity," Gooch said. "We're not going to be able to take advantage of solar and wind energy in this state."

Reaction in agricultural states is equall concerned. This from Iowa:

David Miller, of the Iowa Farm Bureau, who also serves as chief science officer for AgraGate Climate Credits Corp., said the bill's carbon policy would substantially affect agriculture in rural America. "Everything we do is carbon-based," he said. "We have no noncarbon alternatives. Plants don't grow without carbon. Livestock don't exist without carbon."

Although agriculture isn't a named cap sector in the bill, Miller said the industry would be affected by indirect costs, including higher fertilizer costs, corn prices and taxes on livestock, resulting in $5 billion in increased costs to agriculture by 2020 and $13 billion to $14 billion by 2050. "If you raise electrical costs, rural America will pay for it, and rural America will pay for it at a higher rate than urban areas," he said.

The Heritage Foundation posted a new article yesterday debunking that whole "cost of one postage stamp a day" meme. An excerpt:

The goal of cap and trade is to drive up the costs of energy in order for people to use less of it. Because just about every business uses energy to produce goods and must pay their own electricity bills, the cost of production for businesses increases, and consumer demand falls for two reasons:

  1. Price hikes on goods reduce demand, and
  2. People have less disposable income due to higher energy prices.

Overall, production cuts and reduced consumer spending destroy jobs and slow economic growth, which further increases unemployment.

Contact your senators, people! Find out how they are going to vote on this bill. Feel free to post what you find out here. I know that Vitter and Landrieu of LA are both on record against it.

Related Posts:
Waxman is off the Mark
Inhofe: Waxman-Markey Dead in the Water?
What's in the Waxman-Markey Bill?
Fun Facts on Cap and Trade
The Cap and Trade Anti-Stimulus

See also: The American Issues Project


snaggletoothie said...

My fear is that what Byrd actually means by so loudly voicing opposition to the bill is: "Any bribes offered for my vote so far are inadequate. What will you really give me to shaft my constituents?"

Jim said...

I don't think he will sell out the coal mining interests. This is a case of 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend'.

G.R. said...

I agree with Jim. Coal is life in West Virginia, and I don't think Byrd, or any senator from West Virginia, or surrounding states, would vote against coal. He would just as soon cut his own throat.
I wouldn't trust Byrd if it were any other position, but this one I think is a sure bet.

snaggletoothie said...

Hope you guys are right.