Accuracy in Media

As
the congressional curtains open on the Lieberman-Warner “Climate
Security Act,” the subjects of higher taxes, job expansion and economic
growth are taking center stage in many people’s minds.

The act, which deals with controlling levels of greenhouse gases (GHGs)
produced by the United States in order to protect the government will
be open for Senate discussion for the few following weeks.

And while many agree measures must be taken to protect the environment
from carbon dioxide levels and such, some people are seeing a flaw in
the act that they say could potentially cause more problems than GHGs
ever could.

In an open letter sent on May 28 to the U.S. Senate “on behalf of the 326,000 members of the National Taxpayers Union (NTU)” Andrew Moylan,
government affairs manager for the NTU, urged senators to vote against
the Lieberman-Warner act.
“This bill would impose an annual cap on the emissions of six
greenhouse gases, principally carbon dioxide, and would establish a
trading system for emissions allowances. The ‘cap-and-trade’ system
constitutes a colossal tax hike and should be opposed due to its
enormous cost and regulatory implications,” Moylan wrote.

Indeed, even the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) April 2008 cost estimate for the Lieberman-Warner Act shows the bill would be a costly endeavor
for Congress to undertake.
“The most costly mandates would require certain types of private-sector
entities to participate in the cap-and-trade programs for GHG emissions
created by the bill. CBO estimates that the cost of those mandates
would amount to more than $90 billion each year during the 2012-2016
period, and thus substantially exceed the annual threshold established
in [Unfunded Mandates Reform Act] UMRA for private-sector mandates
($136 million in 2008, adjusted annually for inflation).”

According to the estimate, the bill would cost even more if the proposed amendments were passed, as well.

“Compared with the version of [the act] including the proposed
amendment, CBO estimates that, over the 2009-2018 period, the version
of the bill that was ordered reported would result in $15 billion less
in revenues, $79 billion more in direct spending outlays, and $81
billion less in spending subject to appropriation. Those differences
result from provisions in the amendment that would increase the portion
of allowances that would be auctioned, deposit a portion of auction
proceeds into a Climate Change Deficit Reduction Fund, and make
spending from that fund subject to appropriation,” reports the CBO.

So, what are some of the things Americans will be paying for their government to implement if this bill is passed?

One leading environmental group, the Sierra Club, found at least 115 mandates in the proposal.

One mandate that is found within the Lieberman-Warner Act orders the
secretary of energy to “do a study to see if establishing ‘regional
standards’ for space heating and air conditioning products (except for
window air conditioners and portable space heaters) makes sense.”

Another mandate found within the act which many find issue with states that after one year after the bill in enacted, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would have to make regulations “for permitting commercial-scale
underground injections of CO2” (including provisions relating to
long-term liability).”

Many Lieberman-Warner critics are not receiving these types of regulations positively.
In a May 12 Heritage Foundation study on the effects and cost of the Climate Security Act, researchers
say the bill makes “assumptions about the pace of technological
advances.”

According to the study, “critics fear that many of the necessary
advances are decades away from being technologically and economically
viable and that in the interim, the caps in [the Lieberman-Warner Act]
can be met only with severe reductions in energy use, which would drive
up energy costs significantly—and would be in effect, a massive energy
tax.”

“The problems for our economy are increased by [the Act’s] reliance on the complex and costly technologies that have yet to be developed” (emphasis original).

In the May 29, 2008 edition of the Buckley Lake Beakon, Sen. George V. Voinovich (R-OH) wrote a guest column about the Lieberman-Warner Act which
stated, “The decisions made [by Congress] could result in the most
massive bureaucratic intrusion into the lives of Americans since the
creation of the Internal Revenue Service.”

Beakon, the ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works
Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety, mentioned in his column
that he thinks the debate among congress members will be directed
toward the subject of how to bring about change rather than whether or
not something needs to be done about climate change.
“The debate is about whether or not to invest the time and effort
necessary to do it in a responsible, comprehensive and pro-growth
fashion as opposed to rushing through an irresponsible, piecemeal plan
that will raise energy costs on already-hurting families, send jobs
overseas and fail to help the environment as intended,” he said.

However, jobs being sent overseas is just one of the concerns people
are saying they’ll have with the future of the U.S. job market if the
Climate Security legislation is passed within the next few weeks.

The Heritage Foundation’s study concludes that all American citizens would feel the would-be impact of the proposed legislation.

“The limits on CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions would impose
significant costs on virtually the entire American economy,” the
foundation’s study concluded. “Overall, [the Lieberman-Warner Act]
would likely be—by far—the most expensive environmental undertaking in
history.”




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