House Rejects Senate’s Greenhouse Gas Provisions in Energy Bill, by Tom Randall

BACKGROUND: On Thursday, October 3, conferees from the U.S. House of Representatives voted 15-2 to reject the “greenhouse gas” provisions in the Senate version of the energy bill, which is now in conference. The Senate provisions would establish a voluntary reporting system for carbon dioxide and other emissions that would become mandatory in five years. They would also lay the groundwork for a “cap and trade” system for emissions that is favored by very large energy producers for the competitive advantage it would give them over their smaller competitors.

TEN SECOND RESPONSE: The House was right to reject the Senate’s greenhouse gas proposals because these provisions would kill jobs.

THIRTY SECOND RESPONSE: The Senate’s greenhouse gas provisions eventually would have cost thousands of American jobs and hurt our economy. The Senate wished to do this despite the lack of empirical evidence that such gases, produced by man, affect climate. The Senate’s energy provisions actually were “anti-energy” provisions.

DISCUSSION: The Senate’s insistence on energy bill measures which would have restricted both the availability and use of energy, in direct opposition to House proposals to increase energy independence (such as environmentally-safe oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge), may be a blessing in disguise. It is difficult to see how a useful compromise between the House and the Senate bills could have been reached.

Energy-independence issues, such as oil and gas exploration in ANWR, the Gulf of Mexico, the outer continental shelf and the inter-mountain west, as well as “renewable fuels,” such as ethanol, might best be dealt with in the next Congress.

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