Massive Energy Tax Taking Shape in Congress

by Myron Ebell on May 13, 2009

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Beverly Hills), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, announced late Tuesday that the full committee would mark up the Waxman-Markey energy rationing bill next week and that he planned to vote the bill out of committee before the Memorial Day recess which begins on 22nd May.  Waxman also released some details of the compromise bill that he and Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) have negotiated with Blue Dog and other moderate Democrats on the committee.

This bill should not be improved; it should be defeated.

Here are some of the key provisions in the new Waxman-Markey compromise energy-rationing bill:

Targets and timetables:

  • 2005 greenhouse gas emissions baseline
  • -17% by 2020
  • -42% by 2030
  • -83% by 2050

Free ration coupons:

  • 35% to local electric distribution companies, phasing out in 10-15 years
  • 15% to energy-intensive industries that compete with imports (steel, cement, paper, etc.), phasing out by 2% per year (as I understand it that would be 13% in year 2, 11% in year 3, etc.)
  • 1% to 5% to oil refineries
  • Remaining coupons would be auctioned.

Sharing the booty:

  • Some revenues raised from auctioning the ration coupons would be dedicated to helping the auto industry and renewable energy.

Renewable requirements for electric utilities:

  • 20% total renewables and efficiency gains
  • 15% renewables by 2020
  • 5% efficiency improvements by 2020
  • With a 3% swing.  For example, 12% renewable plus 8% efficiency gains = 20%.

Threatening a trade war:

The President would be granted authority to levy carbon tariffs beginning in 2025.

Here’s What You Need To Know about the Waxman-Markey Bill

1. It’s a tax.

2. It’s an indirect, hidden, sneaky tax, but it’s a tax.

3. It’s a tax on energy that will raise prices on energy and all goods and services that are produced with or use energy.

4. It’s a tax that will fall more heavily on poorer people because poorer people spend a higher percentage of their incomes on energy than do wealthier people.

5. It’s not a one-time or steady tax, but a tax that will cause energy prices to increase every year.

6. It’s a tax that will destroy jobs in energy-intensive industries, which are concentrated in the States that use coal for electricity.

7. It’s a tax that will raise energy prices more in States that depend on coal for electricity.

8. It’s a tax that will create perpetual economic stagnation.

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