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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Cap-and-trade heading down the wrong path

Monday, November 9, 2009

Dear Nebraskans,

Imagine if the Senate decided it was going to overhaul the health care system by simply drafting legislation and passing it without complete analysis from any health care professionals or economists. What if we passed a bill without knowing the cost, the impact on families and small businesses, or whether or not premiums or taxes would go up? You'd probably think we all ought to find new work.

Surprisingly, a Senate committee took a similarly concerning step last week on the issue of cap-and-trade--legislation that would make you pay additional fees for turning on the lights or running the dishwasher. The Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, which has the lead on the bill in the Senate, approved its 1,000-page bill last week even though the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was not given enough time to conduct an analysis. It baffles me how the Committee could support this far-reaching legislation without knowing how it will impact the very people we serve and our economy as a whole.

The EPW bill has been fishy from the start. When it was first introduced, it included hundreds of blanks and draft text, which made any sort of real analysis impossible. They later filled in the blanks and sent it to EPA, the agency that will be primarily charged with implementing its provisions. EPA did not respond with an analysis because it was given too tight of a deadline. Instead, it offered a 30-page, self-described "paper" with a "discussion" about the potential impact of the legislation.

Think about that. This legislation will significantly impact input costs for businesses, production costs for farmers and ranchers, and electricity and fuel prices for us all. EPA employs many economists and other experts with the capability of telling us specifically how each of these areas will be impacted by a cap-and-trade bill. And yet, the EPW Committee neglected to take advantage of their expertise in favor of hurrying a bill through the approval process. This was disappointing and fell far short of being a thoughtful way to proceed on a bill of such expansive impact.

I don't mean to raise too much alarm--the bill was only passed out of one committee and has yet to come to the Senate floor. But how can the rest of the Senate be expected to make an informed decision on how they are going to vote when the EPW Committee itself did not have the benefit of complete analysis before they voted on the bill?

This is about taking a careful approach to legislation that will overhaul our country's energy future and will affect every single American. This is about asking the right questions. It's unfortunate that the process has gotten this far without a full economic analysis. The American people want and deserve our thoughtfulness on this and all issues.


Mike Johanns

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Thanks Senator! But we need to convince Senator Nelson not to be in "lock step" with the left wing wacks that see Global Warming as a fact! All I get from Senator Nelson is the automatic replies that contain his "clap trap". He seems to be the pivot vote.

-- Posted by Online on Mon, Nov 9, 2009, at 3:10 PM

Let me see, FREDD are you infavor of adding energy costs to our agricultural economy via the Cap and Trade bill? In our current recession, caused by Republicans and Democrats, energy costs and tax bills should increase? In the Health Care Bill, passed by the House, the tax bill to middle income citizens should increase? Why do you wish to penalize Nebraskans for the positions held by the Left Wing Wacks? Talk about "lock step", maybe you should evaluate Senator Nelson's position on these two bills that are in front of the Senate.

-- Posted by Online on Mon, Nov 9, 2009, at 4:19 PM

Senator Johanns: If you had listened to the representative from the EPA that testified at the EPW hearings last week, you would have heard his argument that further economic analysis before markup was unnecessary. Since the Kerry-Boxer bill was so similar to Waxman-Markey, which already underwent an extensive economic analysis, to run more models before amendements were added would have been a superfluous waste of taxpayer $$. Senator Reid pledged to submit the bill to another round of EPA economic analysis before bringing it to the Senate floor for a full debate -- it seems to make much more sense to do it then, once Committees have added amendments. The EPA's analysis thus far might be flawed... but not because it is an inaccurate portrayal of the costs, but rather because it underestimates the benefits.

Forget for a moment the potential costs of climate change to Nebraska's farmers (and other state industries) as aquifer water supplies deplete, or pests lifespans increase, or heat waves, droughts, or heavy rainfall damage crops. Let's just look at solid statistics -- job growth in Nebraska's clean energy sector 1997-2007 was 108%! Overall job growth in the same period was -5%. A bill that encourages investment in sectors that can clearly create growth seems like a pretty logical thing in this economy.

Senator Johanns - I urge you and Senator Nelson to follow the lead of Sens Graham, Lieberman, and Kerry... a bipartisan climate bill will be good for Nebraska (and for the U.S. as a whole).

-- Posted by speltmelk on Tue, Nov 10, 2009, at 3:22 PM

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Sen. Mike Johanns
Sen. Mike Johanns
U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns is a former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Nebraska governor and Lincoln mayor.

Address: 404 Russell, Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510

Phone: (202) 224-4224
Fax: (202) 228-0436

You may contact Senator Johanns by emailing mike_johanns@johanns.senate.gov. If you would like to receive a response from Senator Johanns, please ensure you include your name, full address, and phone number.