America's Carbon Policy
By Senator Jim Inhofe
June 15, 2008
Climate tax would cost Oklahomans, gain little
The U.S. Senate recently rejected climate tax legislation, and it's a good thing, too. With gas prices in Oklahoma around $4 dollars a gallon, the last thing we need is legislation that increases the price of gas at the pump and the cost of energy in our homes — all for no climate gain.
Government and independent economic analyses tell the story: the Climate Tax Bill would have hit Oklahomans particularly hard by increasing household costs for every family of four in Oklahoma by $3,298 every year, and by causing gas prices at the pump to increase by somewhere between $.41 and $1.01 per gallon.
Oklahoma's family farmers and ranchers would have faced what equated to an agricultural tax on crops upwards of $12 billion by 2020. Oklahoma Farm Bureau President Mike Spradling addressed the economic hardships of the bill, recently stating, "We believe this legislation unfairly penalizes farmers by forcing them to comply with climate change regulations and makes it more difficult for them to compete in the global market. Agriculture is significantly affected by volatile fuel and natural gas prices, and we believe this legislation will raise the costs of energy and natural gas to levels that make it uneconomical to continue farming or ranching."
Furthermore, Oklahoma's natural gas well production as we know it today would have been at particular risk. The Climate Tax Bill would have put at risk as much as 32 percent of America's expected natural gas supply by just 2012. An analysis by ICF International indicates that the bill would have increased the operating costs of natural gas wells by roughly 50 percent in 2012 and 100 percent by 2030. Marginal well production, which contributes a major percentage to American production and constitutes a significant amount of producing wells in Oklahoma, would have become nearly non-existent.
Importantly, the rejection of this climate tax bill provides a stark contrast between those who believe the answer to solving our nation's energy crisis is to raise taxes, regulate more, and drastically increase the size of the federal bureaucracy, and those of us who believe the path forward should develop and expand America's domestic resources. Through my leadership position on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, I have long warned of the dire economic consequences of carbon cap-and-trade legislation. I am being joined by many other voices in Washington. Even many Democratic senators indicated they could not support the job killing bill.
Oklahomans appreciate that tomorrow's energy mix must include more natural gas, wind, geothermal and renewable energy, but realize that oil, coal, and nuclear energy — the world's largest source of emission-free energy — must also be included. Developing and expanding domestic energy will translate into energy security and will ensure stable sources of supply and well-paying jobs for Oklahomans and Americans.
I have long believed we need to capitalize on Oklahoma ingenuity, and have a long record supporting Oklahoma energy production. For example, I authored successful bipartisan legislation with Sens. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., and Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., to incentivize the use of geothermal heat pumps in homes, businesses and federal buildings like the ones developed and produced by Climate Master in Oklahoma City. I coordinated a pilot program between Tulsa-based Syntroleum and Tinker Air Force Base that utilizes natural gas-to-liquids fuels to power B-52 aircrafts. I also secured funding to assist the research by Oklahoma State University and the Noble Foundation toward biofuel development and authored provisions providing transitional assistance to farmers who produce bioenergy crops.
Finally, on behalf of our many independent oil and natural gas operators, both large and small in Oklahoma, I authored successful legislation lessening regulatory burdens, protecting techniques such as hydraulic fracturing, and promoting the use of more exacting and environmentally friendly 3-D seismic technologies.
Today as Oklahomans are looking for relief from soaring energy costs, they can rest assured that I will continue to stand up for Oklahoma and support policies that will make certain we have a stable, diverse and affordable energy supply.
Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., is the ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
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