The House Environment, Energy and Technology Committee voted unanimously Tuesday to condemn federal cap and trade legislation, deeming it as a solution that doesn't "define or fix the problem."
Cap and trade legislation is has been passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and now awaits hearing in the Senate. The cap and trade plan is intended to reduce carbon emissions by putting caps on the amounts of certain pollutants could be put into the environment by certain businesses and industries. Once in place, corporations would be able to buy and sell carbon credits based on their pollution needs.
Rep. Eric Anderson, R-Priest Lake, said that although he believes carbon pollution is a serious problem that must be addressed, he feels cap and trade is "nothing but a tax" that doesn't solve the problem, but actually works to create more expensive energy bills for the average American family. Anderson said that according to the Government Accountability Office, a non-partisan entity charged with scoring legislation, the average family would see an $890 increase in its electric bill each year.
The family wouldn't be alone in bearing the burden of higher electric costs, noted Anderson. He said that according to the Congressional Budget Office, which also speculates the impact of legislation, farmers would see a 94 percent drop in revenue by 2035 under cap and trade legislation. Anderson was joined by committee Chairman Dell Raybould, R-Rexburg, in his scorn of the effects of cap and trade on farmers. Raybould, a farmer himself, said that cap and trade legislation would cause fertilizer prices to skyrocket because the government would be allowed to regulate and cap chemicals used to make fertilizers. He said he believes the legislation would cause a vegetable and fruit famine within one year of being instituted.
Committees Republicans were joined in the opposition to the legislation by Democrats, and Rep. Wendy Jaquet, D-Ketchum, in particular. Jaquet offered sharp criticism of the plan to curb global warming, saying the she is opposed to it because of "the fact that people on Wall Street are going to make all this money and the regular people aren't." Jaquet also said the plan wasn't "very well conceived."
The lone public comment on the resolution came from Russ Hendricks, representing the Idaho Farm Bureau. Hendricks said that cap and trade would be "detrimental to farming in Idaho," because it would increase farmer costs, but would not allow growers any return on investment. He said that though the bureau is not opposed to legislation to curb carbon emissions, it feels "this cap and trade scheme will do absolutely nothing to alter our climate."
The resolution passed the committee on a unanimous vote and now heads to the House for a vote.