Energy & Environment

The Light Switch Tax (Rep. John Culberson)

President Barack Obama and liberals in Congress support federal regulation of carbon dioxide (CO2).  Proponents of CO2 regulation claim that taxing polluters is an effective way to reduce carbon emissions, but the staggering costs of a cap and trade program will stifle our domestic energy and manufacturing sectors and result in major rate increases for consumers.  The cap and trade plan should really be called “the light switch tax,” because if this bill becomes law, you will pay a tax every time you flip your light switch.

Representatives Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Edward Markey (D-MA) recently introduced the American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) Act of 2009, which would create a cap and trade program requiring CO2 emissions to be reduced 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and 83 percent below 2005 levels by 2050.  The bill would set up a cap and trade system that sets a limit (or cap) on total CO2 emissions from fossil fuels and establish a yet to be defined carbon allowance on each utility or company.  Details such as cap levels and which companies are subject to allowances are still being finalized by Democrats, but the outcome looks grim for consumers.

A Fair Way to Regulate Fuel Economy and Greenhouse Gass (Sen. Carl Levin)

The Administration’s announcement for joint EPA-DOT regulation of greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy contains two important elements that I have been fighting for over many years. First, it will establish a single national standard that will provide predictability and certainty for the auto companies in meeting regulations, which the industry apparently believes it can achieve over a realistic timeframe.

Second, it will ensure that these regulations are based upon size and other vehicle attributes and not based on the outdated fleet average system that is highly discriminatory against American manufacturers. We were able to achieve that new approach in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 and it has since been implemented by the Department of Transportation for model year 2011. It is the only fair way to regulate fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions.

More Emissions Restrictions from the White House (Rep. Lee Terry)

Today President Obama announced new fuel economy standards for cars and trucks. This decision will give consumers more choices for fuel efficient cars and trucks, reduce our country’s reliance on foreign oil and will preserve U.S. manufacturing jobs. That is a good thing. There is no doubt we need a national standard. Congressman Baron Hill and I championed the first CAFE changes in 30 years that were included in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. Our standards would have increased fuel economy standards in cars and light trucks to 35 miles per gallon by 2020 -- an increase of 40%.

President Obama now wants to move that requirement up to 2016. This is commendable, but I am a bit concerned about one of the things that we negotiated in the CAFE standard two years ago. We wanted CAFE standard determinations to stay with the NHSTA at the Department of Transportation instead of the EPA. Right now, NHSTA regulates CAFE standards that include factors like size and vehicle safety to protect passengers. If the EPA becomes the sole regulator of vehicles, these aspects of assuring safe and reliable vehicles on our roadways might be compromised. NHSTA should continue to have a role in regulating CAFE standards.


Cloudy Skies for Climate Change Bill

Rep. Chris Van Hollen(D-Md.) says the House may have to hold off on major climate change legislation this year, but there is still energy legislation that could be brought up instead.


Obama’s Cuba Policy Risks an Opportunity

While Obama lifts some restrictions on travel by Cuban Americans to the island, the administration remains firm on the US embargo.

Press speculation and reports this morning indicate that the President will lift travel restrictions on Cuban American travel to Cuba as well as the sending of remittances and other items to the island. There is no indication that the administration will go beyond those measures.  An urgent goal of the regime is the lifting of the embargo which will mean access to loans from international financial institutions.  To date, the regime has squandered hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign assistance and loans.


Rivers In Need Of Urgent Action

From outdated flood control schemes to harmful dams and mining projects, our nation’s rivers and clean water are at risk. Today, American Rivers released America’s Most Endangered Rivers: 2009 edition spotlighting ten rivers in need of urgent action.

Our nation is at a transformational moment when it comes to rivers and clean water. Water is life, yet our nation’s water infrastructure is so outdated that our clean drinking water, flood protection and river health face unprecedented threats. Our country needs the smart, cost-effective solutions for clean drinking water, flood protection and river health outlined in America’s Most Endangered Rivers that will bring us into the 21st century.

Not DeLay-ed from Energy Future

The Hill's Jim Mills interviews Jonathan Grella of Securing America's Future Energy about what legislation his organization is pushing for in Congress and his previous job as aide to Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay(R-Tex.).


An Historic Day For River Protection

Today, President Obama signed into law the second largest Wild and Scenic Rivers package in history. Today’s law expands the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System by more than 50 percent, bringing the total number of Wild and Scenic Rivers to 252.

This afternoon, I had the high honor of attending the presidential signing ceremony at the White House. It was thrilling to hear the President speak of rivers and water resources in an era of climate change and of fish returning to “rivers that have not seen them in decades.”