Congressman

Cynthia Lummis

Representing Wyoming

Lummis Fights Back Against National Energy Tax

Wyoming Consumers, Agriculture Could Lose Big Under New Proposal

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Washington, Jun 11, 2009 | Ryan Taylor ((202) 225-2311) | comments
WASHINGTON – 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.
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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 pain.”

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 taxpayer.”

Lummis’ Plan to Create Jobs, Protect Environment, and Lower Energy Prices

• 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 environment;

• 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 Mountain West.
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