Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011

By: Ron Kind
By: Ron Kind
Date: April 6, 2011
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. KIND. I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Madam Chair, the bill that we are debating today just goes too far. It repeals a scientific finding and represents an aggressive assault on the Clean Air Act, a bipartisan law originally implemented by President Nixon that has successfully protected the public health for over 40 years.

I represent a rural district in western Wisconsin that has approximately 180,000 rural electric co-op members that are concerned about possible new EPA regulations and their impact on them. I share their concerns, and I agree that we have to approach this issue reasonably. Still, the approach under H.R. 910 isn't the right one. There is a middle ground that can be found, which is why I, along with my friend and colleague from New York (Mr. Owens), am offering, really, an amendment in the nature of a substitute today. This amendment would permanently protect farms, small businesses and small- and medium-sized stationary sources from greenhouse gas regulation by codifying the Environmental Protection Agency's Tailoring Rule.

The Tailoring Rule, itself, represents a compromise. Despite being court-ordered to regulate greenhouse gases, the EPA took into account our fragile economy, and proposed a narrow rule that would exempt the vast majority of stationary sources from any regulation. Through the rule, the EPA takes the appropriate approach to regulating greenhouse gases by only requiring very large, new and expanded emitters to seek permits. My friends on the other side of the aisle, however, believe that the EPA intends to go even further than the Tailoring Rule, and will ultimately implement a tax on energy just as China is beginning to today; but voting for this amendment will prevent the EPA from doing this.

Some fear that farms or businesses will be regulated under this rule. Our amendment prevents this from ever occurring. Under the Tailoring Rule, the EPA has not identified even one farm that would meet the regulation threshold. That's because you'd have to have over 116,000 beef cattle or 152 million broiler chickens on a single farm to trigger the regulation. There isn't a farm in the United States, let alone western Wisconsin, that fits that definition. Further, this amendment will provide the utility industry with the certainty that they have requested. Industry will know precisely what will trigger permit requirements, and will be able to plan accordingly.

H.R. 910 takes an extreme approach to the EPA regulation of these carbon emissions by repealing a scientific finding so compelling that even the Bush administration determined that they were unable to ignore it. The science is clear: Climate change is real, and greenhouse gases pose a serious threat to human health.

I think we can all agree that we'd rather have Congress act to curb greenhouse gas emissions, and I would certainly prefer that approach, but we haven't been able to get our act together in this body. What we can do is protect public health and local economies by codifying the Tailoring Rule.

I urge my colleagues to support this amendment because it is a commonsense solution that accepts the scientific evidence that greenhouse gases are dangerous to human health, and it enacts a workable solution that will protect human health and that will ensure clean air while shielding the vast majority of sources from any regulatory requirements.

I reserve the balance of my time.