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Kerry-Boxer: Its Bite is Worse than its Bark

By <a class="post-author" href="/about#mlewis">Marlo Lewis</a> -- October 27, 2009

Today, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold the first of three hearings on S. 1733, the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act,” also known as Kerry-Boxer, after its co-sponsors¬†Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA).¬†Kerry-Boxer is the Senate companion bill to H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACESA), also known as Waxman-Markey, after its co-sponsors Reps. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Ed Markey (D-MA).

For those worried about the economic impacts of these bills, I bring unwelcome news: their bite is worse than their bark. Escalator clauses common to both bills, ignored in most previous analyses, are the setup for dramatic increases in regulatory stringency well beyond the bills’ explicit emission reduction targets. Similarly, “findings” presenting the “scientific” rationale for cap-and-trade are not mere rhetorical fluff but precedents for litigation targeting emission sources considerably smaller than those explicitly identified as “covered entities.”…