Last week the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee voted 11-1 to pass the Kerry-Boxer cap-and-trade energy tax.   Some of the Committee’s members wanted to delay that vote until the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducts a complete economic analysis of the bill’s expected costs to American consumers and the nation’s economy, but Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer refused to wait, arguing that EPA has already done a “full-blown analysis” of the legislation.

Not true, as you can see here.

This week Senator John Kerry, the lead author of the legislation, told the Senate Finance Committee that “the reason” we need to pass his cap-and-trade energy tax is that “over the last eight years, emissions in the United States of America in greenhouse gases went up four times faster than in the 1990s.”  Also not true.  In fact, he’s off by a factor of 32.

As the video shows, greenhouse gas emissions increased far slower in the 2000s than the 1990s. According to data from the Energy Information Administration,[1] U.S. carbon dioxide emissions increased by 15.14% between 1990 and 1999, but from 2001 to 2008 carbon dioxide emissions only increased by 1.88%. If Senator Kerry were correct, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions would have increased by 60.5% over the last 8 years, but they only increased by 1.88%.  Senator Kerry overestimated U.S. emissions by a factor of 32.

These are the authors of the Kerry-Boxer cap-and-trade energy tax legislation.  If our leaders can’t stick to the basic facts to support their argument for a national energy tax, and the lead author of the bill is this far off the mark on “the reason” Congress needs to pass it, Americans might reasonably question the validity of their estimates on how much the bill will cost them and our nation’s already-struggling economy.

Even more troubling, Senator Lindsey Graham is now working with Senator Kerry on a “compromise” in which Senators’ would accept the cap-and-trade plan in exchange for “opening new areas for offshore drilling.”  This would have been a bad compromise last year, but given the fact that the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) is now open—and has been since Congress allowed its ban on offshore drilling to expire on October 1, 2008—it appears to be an even worse compromise this year.

If the compromise is anything like the “Gang of 10” plan offered last year in the months before the Congressional ban on drilling in 85 percent of the OCS was set to expire, the only thing we’d be compromising is the progress we’ve already made. That’s because the Gang of 10 plan would have created a permanent ban on drilling in 78 percent of our offshore areas—areas that are now open.

But at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what the compromise may be.  The long-term costs cap-and-trade legislation would inflict on our economy and our way of life would be so devastating, that no compromise – offshore drilling or anything else – would justify its passage.

[1] The total includes the row titled “Total Energy” and “Electric Power Generation.”

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