Corker Announces Amendments to Climate Security Legislation

Press Release

Date: May 28, 2008
Location: Jasper, TN

Corker Announces Amendments to Climate Security Legislation
Corker Seeks to Return More Money Directly to American Citizens, Prevent Massive Government Expansion, Keep More U.S. Dollars at Home

U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, today announced his plans to introduce three amendments to the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2008, S. 3036, when it comes to the Senate floor for debate next week. The crux of the Corker amendments is to get more money returned directly to the pockets of the American people who will bear the brunt of the costs associated with cap-and-trade.

"I believe we should return more money directly to the pockets of American citizens, prevent massive government expansion, and keep more U.S. dollars at home rather than sending them overseas," said Corker.

Specifically, the Corker amendments would (1) provide direct relief to American consumers bearing the brunt of the cap-and-trade program's costs; (2) increase direct reimbursement to the American people by eliminating free allowances—worth over a TRILLION dollars—to entities that have nothing to do with reducing carbon emissions; and (3) eliminate the use of international offsets to meet emissions reductions.

"Since day one, my goal has been to support a bill that addresses climate security AND energy security in a balanced way. This bill is not that and, in my opinion, is not ready for prime time," said Corker. "While it does focus on climate change, unfortunately it is also a huge spending bill that uses non-discretionary spending—funded in essence by a tax on the American people—to spend TRILLIONS of dollars on new and existing government programs.

"If a cap-and-trade bill becomes law, every single American will pay more for gasoline, more for electricity, more for food, more for everything they buy as a result. I believe that any money generated from a cap-and-trade system should be put back in the pockets of American citizens burdened with these additional costs.

"Additionally, I believe we need to increase the amount of allowances that are auctioned, rather than giving them away for free to other entities who are supposed to use the value of those allowances to benefit the public. In my view, American citizens would be better served receiving relief directly rather than relying on middlemen to provide that relief through a massive government expansion.

Corker has joined with U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to offer a third amendment which will eliminate the use of international offsets to meet emissions reductions.

"We should eliminate all international offsets as a way for emitters to comply with the U.S. carbon cap," said Corker. "There are serious questions about the integrity of many of these projects, and it is difficult to determine whether these projects would have occurred anyway. In addition, these offsets would have a distorting affect on the U.S. cap-and-trade market and would lead to even more American dollars being spent overseas in countries like China, instead of in America."

Noting that climate change and cap-and-trade would be significant issues facing Congress, Corker has spent his first 16 months in office delving into the complexity of the policy. Last May 2007, he traveled to Europe with Energy Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) to meet with European Union officials, carbon traders, representatives from the utility industry, and cement manufacturers. In July, Corker went to Greenland with Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) to view the effects of climate change. He has also spent countless hours with Tennessee-based industry, conservation groups, and experts discussing the impacts of climate change legislation, and in April, Corker began making presentations to his colleagues outlining his concerns with the bill.

Attached are one-page summaries outlining the background, the necessity and the function of each amendment.