Cap and Tax Passes in the House
The U.S. House of Representatives passed The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACES), also named the “Waxman- Markey” bill, by a 219-212 vote. The masses are calling it the “Cap and Trade” bill, while detractors are blasting it as the “Cap and Tax” bill.
Joe Petrowsky, CEO of Gulf Oil, sees this bill costing businesses $50-100 per ton of carbon created, which will be passed through as a tax to energy consumers in the form of an annual $1,000+ tax (about $250-$350 per individual). Robert Murray, CEO of Murray Energy Corporation, calls it a $2 trillion tax on consumers over 8 years.
The House passed this bill just as the economy is shuttering on its knees and a rising skepticism is brewing over the validity of global warming – see Kimberley Strassel’s, journalist at The Wall Street Journal, article entitled, The Climate Change Climate Change dated June 26, 2009. Australia is in the process of killing its “Cap and Trade” proposals and many critics point to Spain’s failing carbon initiatives and 18% unemployment as evidence for the program’s shortcomings.
Despite one’s views on the validity of global warming, what cannot be disputed is our reliance (addiction) to oil as we import 70% of our oil demand. Is the time and scope of this bill the silver bullet for our crude dependence as we try to survive through this “Great Recession?” I think not.
Billions of humans across the globe are aspiring to achieve our standard of living here in the U.S., so even those against a “Cap and Trade” system, including myself, need to appreciate the massive energy investment we need to make. The U.S. is considered the “Saudi Arabia” of coal due to our vast reserves, and therefore we must find efficient and cleaner ways to use this abundant commodity. We need to throw the kitchen sink at nuclear, wind, solar, hydrogen, bio-fuels and other alternative energy technologies, even as we look to expand our fossil fuel resources.
But rather than forming randomly created silos of hoarded research across hundreds of universities, why not create domestic centers of excellence that collaborate with both academic and private sector participants. By integrating monetary incentives (i.e., exclusive commercial patent rights), incredible advancements and breakthroughs can be achieved. Historically, when the United States has focused on a task, we’ve been able to achieve greatness – for example sending a man to the moon. Heck, recently NASA mastered the art of converting urine into water!
Bold new steps need to be taken to solve our energy crisis, but I’m afraid this “Cap and Tax” bill is not the right answer.