Op-Ed - Cap and Trade Would Hammer Economy, Job Creation


Date: July 9, 2010
Issues: Trade Energy

Published by BigGovernment.com on
Last week's national unemployment numbers demonstrated that the economic recovery President Obama promised us is still a ways away. In Pennsylvania the unemployment rate increased last month hovering just above 9%.

Given these numbers, the last thing Washington politicians should be doing is supporting legislation that would cost thousands more jobs. But that is exactly what my very liberal opponent, Congressman Joe Sestak, is doing.

Not only did Congressman Sestak sponsor and vote for a cap-and-trade energy tax, he argued that the tax did not go far enough!

A cap-and-trade energy tax would impose an onerous indirect tax on the production and consumption of carbon-based energy. It would cap the amount of carbon dioxide businesses could emit, impose a penalty when the cap is exceeded, and would require that carbon emissions be cut by 20 percent of 2005 levels by 2020.

Independent studies have found that this would cost the country millions of jobs, but in an industrial state like Pennsylvania, the cap-and-trade tax would be even more harmful than elsewhere. Our state's coal, natural gas and manufacturing industries would be especially hard hit.

Pennsylvania is the fourth-largest coal-producing state in the country and coal plays a major part in the commonwealth's economy and electricity production. Coal accounts for more than half of all electricity produced in Pennsylvania. According to a National Association of Manufacturers' study, coal production would fall by about 85 percent and electricity production by about 21 percent as a result of a cap-and-trade bill voted for by Joe Sestak and passed in the House.

Pennsylvania is also home to the Marcellus Shale, one of the largest unconventional natural gas reserves in the world. It has the potential to turn our state into a major producer of clean energy and create thousands of jobs. But the new energy tax could doom this budding industry before it has a chance to develop.

The manufacturers' study finds the House cap-and trade bill would cost Pennsylvania more than 70,000 jobs in the years ahead. But that's not all. In just six years, it would increase gasoline prices by 6 percent to 8 percent, oil prices by 6 percent to 12 percent and natural gas prices by 14 percent to 21 percent.

The cap-and-trade energy tax is so devastating, it has garnered bipartisan opposition across Pennsylvania and the country. In Pennsylvania alone, a majority of the congressional delegation -- including both Republicans and Democrats -- are opposing this disastrous tax.

We can and must support commonsense policies that protect our environment, but that goal can be achieved without abandoning 70,000 or more Pennsylvania jobs and imposing higher gas and electricity prices on all Pennsylvanians. A focus on renewable energy, conservation, low-carbon energy like natural gas, nuclear energy and cleaner-coal technology are all part of the solution. But as unemployment climbs toward 10 percent, protecting our hard-working families must be our first priority.