Friday, October 2, 2009

Senate Cap-and-Trade Bill Favors Corporate Interests Over National Interest

/PRNewswire/ -- The "Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act" introduced by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and John Kerry (D-MA) favors corporate interests over our national interest, says the Free Enterprise Project of the National Center for Public Policy Research. The bill calls for a 20% reduction in emissions, exceeding the 17% target in the House Waxman-Markey legislation passed in May.

Boxer-Kerry lacks many important details, including a disclosure of which industries will benefit from free emissions credits.

"In the rush to legislate, the Boxer-Kerry bill is silent on key elements, such as how the government will hand out free emissions allowances that are worth billions of dollars. With that amount of money left on the table it opens the door for a behind-the-scenes lobbying fest that will reward well connected companies while looting taxpayers," said Tom Borelli, PhD, director of the Free Enterprise Project.

Waxman-Markey awards most of the estimated $777.6 billion of free allowances to industry between 2012-2020. Utilities were the biggest winner in the "House bill lottery," receiving 35% of allowances.

President Obama originally wanted to auction all the emission credits with the revenue going to reduce the budget deficit.

In addition to the allowance windfall, a few select companies will benefit from specific provisions. Caterpillar would gain from sales of its newly-developed hybrid bulldozer, because the bill empowers the EPA to issue new emissions standards for "new heavy-duty vehicles and engines and for nonroad vehicles and engines."

The Caterpillar hybrid bulldozer is priced about $100,000 more than conventional bulldozers -- an added cost that will be passed on to construction projects.

According to the Free Enterprise Project, the Boxer gift to Caterpillar may be a reward for CEO Jim Owens. Under Owens, Caterpillar is a member of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP) -- a coalition of corporate and environmental special interest groups lobbying for cap-and-trade. Owens is a member of President Obama's Economic Recovery Advisory Board.

"Owens is putting his personal short-term interest over our national interest. He has previously acknowledged that cap-and-trade can harm the competitiveness of our manufacturing industries, yet he remains a member of USCAP," added Borelli. "Owens' thirty pieces of silver is a hybrid bulldozer."

"It's clear the only winners with cap-and-trade will be the lobbyists, CEOs and their environmental allies. The bill represents a huge transfer of wealth in the amount of hundreds of billions of dollars to industry. While the Washington elite benefit, the rest of America will end up paying the cost through higher energy prices, slower economic growth and sending jobs overseas," said Borelli.

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