Last week, at the first Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on S. 1733, the Kerry-Boxer “Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act,” Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu explained the economic rationale for adopting a Kyoto-style cap-and-trade program.
His argument, in a nutshell, goes like this:
EPA’s soon-to-be-published endangerment finding definitely puts a swagger in the step of energy-rationing advocates in the Administration, Congress, and environmental groups. They believe it gives them the whip hand in Congress–a hammer with which to beat opponents into supporting cap-and-tax legislation. This is too clever by half.
Yes, as explained previously, the endangerment finding will trigger a regulatory cascade through multiple provisions of the Clean Air Act (CAA). A strict, letter-of-the-law application of those provisions to carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases would not only raise consumer energy prices. It could also freeze economic development, even shut down much of the economy.
So, it’s not surprising that Team Obama and others think they can frighten opponents into supporting, for example, the Markey-Waxman cap-and-tax bill, which specifically precludes CAA regulation of greenhouse gases under the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) program, the New Source Review (NSR) preconstruction permitting programs, the Title V operating permits program, and the Hazardous Air Pollutant (HAP) program. …