With legislation of this importance, I am glad that I received a telephone call urging me to contact my Congressman, Tim Walz “to support the passage of the H.R.910 ” -- Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011. The caller quickly confirmed that I was concerned about the rising cost of energy and that “job-killing” regulations must be stopped. I informed the caller that I was concerned about ALL legislation but needed to be informed before I could comment. I asked him if he could tell who the “Sponsor” of the legislation was ? What committees had held hearings on the legislation ? What the Congressional Budget Office report said about the financial implications of the legislation ? And of course, what was the Constitutional authority that was cited for this legislation ?
The caller did not have any of this information … but said the Tim Walz needed to hear from me to support H.R. 910.
I asked him if was calling other states to encourage people to contact their Congressman … Yes, he said he was encouraging people to contact Larry Kissell (D-NC-08), Tim Ryan (D-OH-17), Russ Carnahan (D-MO-03), and others. I said that I would review the legislation and contact Congressman Walz with my view on the legislation but I could not promise him that I would tell him to support HR 910.
Frankly, I was surprised to get a call … after all, I am an independent voter .. having never given a dime to any candidate nor any political party … nor worked on any campaign.
So, who is paying for these calls to be made ? ? ?
According to Maplight, supporters of this legislation contributed to the campaigns of Minnesota Representatives in Congress :
$513,148 – Michelle Bachmann (R-MN-06)
$145,210 – Erik Paulsen (R-MN-03)
$110,050 – John Kline (R-MN-02)
$ 25,500 – Colin Peterson (D-MN-07)
$ 15,050 – Tim Walz (D-MN-01)
$ 11,200 – Keith Ellison (D-MN-05)
$ 2,250 – Betty McCollum (D-MN-04)
$ 1,000 – Raymond Cravaack (R-MN-08)
Obviously, HR 910 is an important piece of legislation to some very important special interests … and those special interests seem to believe that Republicans will understand their concerns.
After seeing the dollars being invested, the next question would be “What’s the facts ? ”.
A quick check of Politifact reveals a FALSE evaluation of the statement that HR 910 will “restrain this regulatory overreach that will restrict oil supplies and cause gasoline prices to rise."
That’s what this legislation is really about … not the the price at the pump, but regulations … as the bill states clearly :
To amend the Clean Air Act to prohibit the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from promulgating any regulation concerning, taking action relating to, or taking into consideration the emission of a greenhouse gas to address climate change …
Simply, this legislation will permanently block the EPA’s ability to limit carbon pollution as the bill expressly repeals EPA’s 2009 greenhouse gas reporting rule.
Essentially, what the Republicans want is inaction … and although it is easy to blame this on the Obama Administration, I am struck by a January 2008 letter written by Stephen Johnson, the former EPA administrator, sent to President Bush.
“A robust interagency policy process involving principle meetings over the past 8 months has enabled me to formulate a plan that is prudent and cautious, yet forward-thinking. It creates a framework for responsible, cost-effective, and practical actions.''
He added that actions to reduce carbon emissions, “should spur both private sector and investment in developing new, cost effective technologies and private sector deployment of these technologies at a large scale.
In an earlier commentary, the benefits and costs were presented :
The EPA values the benefits as :
“Today’s action would yield more than $120 billion in annual health benefits in 2014, including avoiding an estimated 14,000 to 36,000 premature deaths, 23,000 nonfatal heart attacks, 21,000 cases of acute bronchitis, 240,000 cases of aggravated asthma, and 1.9 million days when people miss school or work due to ozone- and particle pollution-related symptoms. These benefits would far outweigh the annual cost of compliance with the proposed rule, which EPA estimates at $2.8 billion in 2014.”
Why would anyone want to delay $120 billion in annual health benefits ?
The costs are estimated at $2.8 billion ... and existing technology will be used ... and many producers are using this technology.
In fact, the EPA proposals are NOT geared toward small business as the Republicans portray …
from July 1, 2011, until June 30, 2013, only new sources that emit at least 100,000 tons of greenhouse gases per year or existing sources seeking to increase pollution by at least 75,000 tons per year will be required to obtain a greenhouse gas permit.
And for the period after June 2013, EPA has said that it would not even consider applying greenhouse gas requirements to facilities that emit less than 50,000 tons of greenhouse gases per year.
Oh, yeah, regarding the Constitutional authority for this legislation, the Republicans cite Article 1 Section 8 Clause 3 which empowers the Congress to : To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States … hmmm … so the Republicans are rejecting a States Rights argument for protecting air quality … interesting … gosh, I would have thought they may have cited Clause 8: To promote the Progress of Science but that would imply that they believe in science.
Interestingly, HR 910 is called the Energy Tax Prevention Act but EPA has no authority to levy taxes, nor does the Agency propose to do so. Once again, another “name” bill that is really a misnomer.
Also, while the Republicans may like to spin this legislation as a response to gas prices, the good folks at Annenberg Public Policy Center have reviewed the claim that the Obama Administration policies are to be blamed for the rise in the price of gasoline … once again, another FALSE claim. A tip of the hat to Penigma for the Factcheck link .
I will send Congressman Walz an email on HR 910 … and I will tell him to vote against the Republican legislation … no matter how much money the special interests may throw at him, it is not forward-thinking legislation.
For our country to reduce our consumption of oil, improvements in technology are needed. The people funding the campaigns to advance HR 910 are doing so that they maintain their current controls over our dependence … it’s no wonder that John Kline (R-MN-02) wants to kill the FreedomCAR … the oil producers sell more gallons with inefficient vehicles.
Oh, yeah, that Congressman who discussed “save 1.8 Billion barrels of oil while saving money at the pump was talking in opposition to HR 910 ... he knows that regulation will encourage investment in "developing new, cost effective technologies and private sector deployment of these technologies at a large scale" ... the Bush EPA Administration knew what to do, but the current Republicans are too busy protecting their special interests.