The Ripon Forum

Volume 45, No. 1

Winter 2011 Issue

Upton’s Call

By on October 21, 2014

by FRED UPTON

Job creation. It is a simple goal, but in practice, one that Washington lost sight of in the last few years. Well, no more.

Cap-and-trade legislation failed in the last Congress, but now we face the threat of Environmental Protection Agency bureaucrats imposing the same agenda through a series of new regulations. We must not allow this Administration to regulate what they have been unable to legislate.

Make no mistake, a greenhouse gas regulatory regime has the same intentions – and poses the same economic threat – as the failed cap-and-trade national energy tax. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade plan would have cost $864 billion to implement over ten years. Research from the Heritage Foundation put the eventual costs in the trillions of dollars, with projected job losses eventually exceeding one million.

We must not allow this Administration to regulate what they have been unable to legislate.

Like cap-and-trade, these EPA regulations would boost the cost of energy, not just for homeowners and car owners, but for businesses large and small.

EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations would do far more economic harm than environmental good. A million or more large and small businesses, as well as many farms and buildings, would eventually come under the agency’s regulatory authority. Moreover, imposition of greenhouse gas permitting requirements will negatively impact new and existing U.S. investment and job growth.

We live in a global marketplace filled with manufacturers working to produce high-quality items at the lowest cost. I know American manufacturers can compete – but not if they are saddled with burdensome regulations that put us at an unfair disadvantage. Our goal should be to export goods, not jobs.

More simply put, such regulations will make life more expensive without any environmental benefit. Not just electricity, heat, and gasoline, but groceries, manufacturing, and consumer products will all cost more if the federal government drives up energy costs. The punishing effects of a national energy tax will be felt most severely by low-income groups, the elderly, and minorities, who spend a disproportionate share of their income on energy.

I know American manufacturers can compete – but not if they are saddled with burdensome regulations that put us at an unfair disadvantage.

To protect American jobs and families, I have teamed with Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), Chairman of the Energy and Power Subcommittee, and Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, in releasing a draft proposal called the Energy Tax Prevention Act. This is a bill to protect jobs and preserve the intent of the Clean Air Act.

Our proposal is narrowly crafted.

It specifically targets EPA regulation of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases as related to climate change.

It allows states to continue setting climate policy as they please, but prevents those actions from being imposed or enforced nationally.

Let me also emphasize what our legislation does not do. It does not weaken the Clean Air Act. It does not limit EPA’s ability to monitor and reduce pollutants that damage public health. I have looked back at the comments made by the authors of the revisions to the Clean Air Act in the early 1990s, and I am confident that our bill actually restores the Clean Air Act to its intended purpose.

Permanently blocking the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases is also a matter of sound governing. Decisions about whether or how to regulate should be made by elected representatives in Congress, not unelected bureaucrats. With the Energy Tax Prevention Act, Republicans are leading the way toward a thoughtful, comprehensive energy strategy that harnesses the power of American resources and keeps energy affordable for the benefit of families, job creators, and our long-term economic competitiveness.

With the Energy Tax Prevention Act, Republicans are leading the way toward a thoughtful, comprehensive energy strategy that harnesses the power of American resources and keeps energy affordable for the benefit of families, job creators, and our long-term economic competitiveness.

This year will be one of legislation, but also of education for the Energy and Commerce Committee. Given the chilling effect the EPA’s global warming regulations are already having on manufacturing jobs and the economic recovery, we are moving fast to repeal the agency’s bureaucratic overreach. On other issues, such as North American energy production and the economic burden of regulations on energy-using industries, we will be gathering information as well as offering legislative fixes where appropriate to meet our energy demands of the future.

The recent regime change in Egypt provided a sharp reminder of the potential for an oil-supply disruption in the Middle East, underscoring our own nation’s energy vulnerabilities. We can no longer afford policies that lock away our domestic oil-and-gas resources and thwart job growth. Instead, we must pursue an “all-of-the-above” approach to fortify our energy security and provide for high-paying American jobs.

Our objective is simple – we are for increasing the supply of affordable and reliable energy to keep costs low for families and to help create countless good paying jobs.

Fred Upton represents the 6th District of Michigan in the U.S. House of Representatives. He serves as Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee.

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