Inhofe Introduces Ratepayers Protection Act of 2005

WASHINGTON, DC ñ Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chairman of the Environment & Public Works Committee, introduced legislation today that will ensure the costs associated with actions taken by utilities to reduce carbon dioxide emissions are not transferred to disadvantaged Americans. As the need for those reductions is not grounded in science, it is important that those costs are not passed on to electricity consumers. The Ratepayers Protection Act of 2005 is prompted by research that has shown poor and disadvantaged individuals are negatively impacted by energy rate increases due to climate change-related costs. ìWe simply have to take into account the costs that are associated with efforts to reduce carbon emissions from the nationís power plants,î Senator Inhofe said. ìThis legislation will help ensure that such costs are not passed down unfairly to poor and disadvantaged Americans who must rely on stable and affordable energy prices for heating and cooling, cooking and lighting in their homes.î Inhofe, a longtime skeptic of climate change science that attempts to show a link between anthropogenic emissions and rising temperatures, rejects mandatory caps on carbon dioxide emissions, instead favoring innovation and newer, cleaner technologies that will yield environmental benefits and reduce greenhouse gases while preserving American jobs and maintaining American economic competitiveness. The Ratepayers Protection Act of 2005 directs the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to initiate a study 30 days after enactment to determine the effect on disadvantaged individuals of actions taken or considered, or likely to be taken or considered, by utilities to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The final CBO report will be due one year after the legislationís enactment, and Congress would have 180 days to review and consider the report. After such consideration, if the report demonstrates an economic burden on disadvantaged individuals, the National Climate Program Act would be amended to prohibit utilities from transferring the costs of their actions to energy consumers. Shareholder obligations would not be affected.