Lummis Fights Back Against National Energy Tax
Wyoming Consumers, Agriculture Could Lose Big Under New Proposal
Jun 11, 2009 -
During a House
Agriculture hearing on the Democrat national energy tax bill, U.S.
Representative Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., spoke against the proposal which
would amount to the largest tax ever enacted on American consumers
through the creation of the nation’s first “cap-and-trade” system for
the control and reduction of carbon dioxide emissions.
“This bill will lead to higher costs to create energy by American
industries and will be passed directly onto the American consumers who
use it, disproportionately impacting lower-income families and all
working Americans,” Lummis said. “It will have a devastating impact on
the price at the pump and utility bills, and will dramatically hinder
the use of Wyoming coal and wreak havoc on family budgets, small
businesses and family farms.
“Wyoming’s agricultural industry will be particularly affected.
Agriculture is an energy intensive industry. When the price of energy
goes up even a little bit, Wyoming’s farmers and ranchers feel the
As the price of energy increases under the national energy tax proposed
by the bill, so too will the prices for seed, equipment, machinery,
steel, diesel, fertilizer and other supplies needed for agriculture
operations. Compounding the problem is the fact that agriculture
producers, particularly livestock producers, are price takers. As input
costs climb as a direct result of cap and trade, producers cannot
recover those costs by raising prices.
As painful to the agriculture community as the bill could be, various
studies suggest anywhere from 1.8 million to 7 million American jobs
could be lost when energy-intensive facilities and the energy industry
they depend on must change the way they do business – or relocate
overseas – to meet sweeping new government mandates. Wyoming’s
energy-based economy will likely be one of the first to suffer from
these job losses.
In Wyoming alone, mining and related industries account for over 19,780
jobs with a payroll of over $1.35 billion. As coal goes, so does the
majority of that employment. Technologies are progressing every day to
significantly reduce the amount of CO2 coal burning emits into the
atmosphere – but those technologies are not yet commercially viable.
“Our planet experiences climate change – it has been cycling between
cooling and warming periods long before we were here to experience the
effects,” Lummis continued. “Regardless of if or how much human
activities are currently impacting our climate, it only makes sense to
find ways to use our energy resources more efficiently and by the
cleanest methods possible. But we shouldn’t do it at such a pace that it
further cripples our already struggling economy.”
According to the Council of Economic Advisers’ Report to the President,
global carbon dioxide emissions will be virtually unaffected by U.S.
carbon reductions unless developing countries participate – and they’ve
given no indication that they will.
“Congressional leaders have made it clear that it is dead-set on moving
this bill through Congress this year – despite the cost. I believe this
is irresponsible. Supporters of this bill claim that ‘just saying no’ to
this particular bill is tantamount to ignoring our commitment to
protect the health and welfare of the American people. This accusation
depends on the assumption that the bill before us today is the only
option we have to address climate change. This is simply untrue.
“It is my hope that we can use the coming weeks and months to study and
openly debate the impacts of the various ideas being proposed to address
this issue. We cannot afford to sacrifice substance for expediency on a
climate change plan that will have such dramatic effects on our
nation’s energy reliability and the pocketbook of nearly every American
Lummis’ Plan to Create Jobs, Protect Environment, and Lower
• Encourage innovation within the energy market to create the renewable
fuel options and energy careers of tomorrow;
• Promote greater conservation and efficiency by providing incentives
for easing energy demand and creating a cleaner, more sustainable
• Use new technologies and methods to dramatically expand the use of
zero emission nuclear, as well as wind, solar and biofuels. This is in
addition to innovations with the use of traditional energy sources such
as oil, natural gas and coal; and,
• Increase domestic energy supplies by lifting restrictions on the
Arctic Coastal Plain, the Outer Continental Shelf, and oil shale in the