The Let's-Hogtie-the-American-Economy-and-Throw-It-In-the-Ditch Act of 2009

Promoted from the diaries by EPU

On March 31st, a bill co-sponsored by Reps. Henry Waxman (D-People’s Republic of Beverly Hills) and Edward Markey (D-MA) was filed in the House. Called the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACES), a more appropriate title might be The Let’s-Hogtie-the-American-Economy-and-Throw-It-In-the-Ditch Act of 2009. Waxman chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Markey leads the House Energy and Environment Subcommittee.

ACES contains all the expected Lefty prescriptions for dealing with Energy Security and Climate Change: green jobs, rebates, CAFE standards, Cap’n’Trade, and – get this – carbon tariffs. There is concern from some quarters that it creates an individual right to sue companies, based on “harm”, or the expectation of harm, from Global Warming. What it does not do is deal with real concerns about energy security or supply while we transition to the Brave New World: there is no mention of nuclear power generation or an increased role for natural gas.

From our friends at the Heritage Foundation:

The 2009 Energy Bill: Anti-Market and Anti-Consumer

Presented as a comprehensive energy bill, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACES) offers nothing more than subsidies and mandates for unsuccessful, unproven energy sources coupled with taxes on reliable energy sources that falsely claim to stimulate the economy by investing in clean technology and creating green jobs. This government-centric approach will destroy jobs and drive up energy prices for years to come. …

ACES includes a renewable electricity standard (RES) that requires 6 percent of electricity to come from renewable energy by 2012. This requirement will increase to 25 percent in 2025.

A federally mandated RES is proposed only because renewables are too expensive to compete otherwise. …

Well, that is interesting, because according to the Energy Information Agency, renewables accounted for 9% of electrical generation in 2007. The favored technologies, wind and solar, made up only a tiny fraction of that; most of current “renewables” is hydrothermal and geothermal, which happen to be on the greenies’ extermination list, too.

And then there’s Cap-and-Trade:

Since 85 percent of U.S. energy demand is met by fossil fuels, taxing the lifeblood of the American economy would have disastrous consequences. The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis’s study of the Lieberman–Warner cap-and-trade bill found that legislation would result in aggregate real GDP losses of nearly $5 trillion and job losses of 400,000 and 800,000 jobs per year. The targets and timetables in the ACES discussion draft are considerably more stringent than those in Lieberman–Warner and thus would be costlier. [emphasis added.]

And then there’s the Smoot-Hawley Waxman-Markey Carbon Tariff:

Because ACES would put manufacturers at a disadvantage, the last title of the bill attempts to lessen that burden by rebating money to “sectors that use large amounts of energy, and produce commodities that are traded globally” or by having “foreign manufacturers and importers … pay for and hold special allowances to ‘cover’ the carbon contained in U.S.-bound products.” …

In essence, raising the costs on foreign manufacturers and importers is a carbon tariff. As a result, not only will energy costs increase, but now everything Americans import will be more expensive too. Furthermore, imposing a carbon tariff could lead to a trade war among a number of countries on which the U.S. depends for affordable goods.

The Washington Times details an often overlooked aspect of the House bill: for the first time, it would give standing to bring a lawsuit (against government or industry) “for anyone ‘who has suffered, or reasonably expects to suffer, a harm attributable, in whole or in part,’ to government inaction … . The term ‘harm’ is broadly defined as ‘any effect of air pollution (including climate change), currently occurring or at risk of occurring.’ ”

It would allow citizens to seek up to $75,000 in damages from the government each year, but would cap the total amount paid out each year at $1.5 million, committee staff said. It is unclear whether the provision would actually cap damages at $75,000 per person, because the U.S. law referenced does not establish payouts by the government. …

“Perhaps a more accurate title of the bill would be ‘The Lawyer Full-Employment and As-Seen-on-TV Global Warming Act of 2009,’ ” said Larry Neal, deputy Republican staff director for the House committee.

These “citizen lawsuits” are an insidious way for activist bureaucrats to team with environmental and other groups to expand government regulation. A friendly judge will order the agency to regulate such-and-such, even against the will of the President. They were used successfully during the Bush Administration to push for protection of non-endangered species under the Endangered Species Act.