IS IT POSSIBLE THAT OBAMACARE IS A SMOKESCREEN FOR CAP AND TRADE
The Waxman/Markey Cap and Trade bill that is pending in congress could be just the burden that breaks our economic back!
The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (H.R. 2454, commonly known as Waxman-Markey after its two main sponsors) seeks to limit how much gasoline and other fossil fuels Americans can use. The aim is to cut America’s emissions of carbon dioxide from energy use, which proponents of the bill claim is warming the planet to dangerous levels. As with electricity rates, gasoline prices would have to rise high enough so the public would be forced to use less and meet the bill’s ever-tightening energy rationing targets. It is literally a deliberate effort by the U.S. government to make gasoline less affordable.
According to a Heritage Foundation analysis, the bill would boost the price at the pump by 20 cents per gallon when the provisions first take effect in 2012. The targets get tougher each year, and by 2035 the increase would be an inflation-adjusted $1.38 per gallon–and that is on top of any other price increases that might occur.
2. Regulation of hydraulic fracturing. Bills have been introduced authorizing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate hydraulic fracturing under the Safe Drinking Water Act. This could greatly reduce future onshore drilling for oil (and even more so for natural gas), thus lowering domestic supplies and adversely impacting gasoline prices.
Hydraulic fracturing is a process by which pressurized water and other substances are injected into wells to facilitate the flow of oil and natural gas. It has been widely used for decades and is necessary for the majority of new wells in the U.S. It is currently regulated at the state level, and its environmental and public safety track record is nearly spotless.
Nonetheless, proposed legislation seeks new federal regulation by the EPA based on concerns about contamination of drinking water supplies, even though such water contamination has never occurred and is highly unlikely.
3. Increased red tape and costs on domestic drilling. A draft bill from the House Natural Resources Committee seeks to discourage domestic oil production by adding a host of new regulatory requirements on top of those already in place. The result would be more paperwork, delays, and litigation, but lower domestic supplies of oil.
The bill also creates new regional councils (above and beyond the many existing opportunities for state and local participation) with control over offshore oil and gas leasing. Though couched in terms of allowing public input, these councils would be susceptible to dominance by anti-energy activists not in step with the pro-domestic energy sentiment of the American people.
The proposal would restore unnecessary and redundant environmental reviews that had been eliminated by the Energy Policy Act of 2005. This policy change has proven very helpful for new domestic energy production since 2005, and its reversal would be a serious blow to future oil and natural gas drilling.
The bill also raises many fees on oil production in areas with existing leases. These increases would be particularly burdensome for the smaller energy companies that account for most of the domestic oil and gas activity. In some cases, these provisions would be enough to make oil leases too costly to pursue. While discouraging existing oil activities, the bill does nothing to open up currently off-limits areas to new production.
4. Raising energy taxes. Although President Obama has spoken frequently about the need to reduce imports of oil, his first budget proposed a host of punitive taxes aimed at domestic oil and natural gas production. For example, the budget eliminates several deductions against income for energy producers, most notably the manufacturer’s deduction under the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004. Under the budget proposal, this deduction, which applies to all domestic industries, would specifically exclude domestic exploration and production of oil and natural gas.
Overall, the budget uses the domestic oil and natural gas industry as a source of $31 billion over 10 years in additional revenues. It should be noted that this industry already faces effective tax rates that are higher than the manufacturing sector as a whole.
These energy tax hikes, which of course do not apply to foreign sources of oil, also put domestic production at a comparative disadvantage. For example, the 1980 windfall profits tax on oil companies (an excise tax that kicks in when the price of oil exceeds a certain amount) was found by the Congressional Research Service to have “reduced domestic oil production from between 3 and 6 percent, and increased oil imports from between 8 and 16 percent.” The newly proposed tax changes would have the same effect.
5. Administrative delays on drilling. Last year, in the wake of public outrage over $4 gas, President Bush and Congress repealed the restrictions on leasing in 85 percent of America’s territorial waters. However, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has already reversed the pro-energy momentum from last year, stalling on opening any new areas to leasing and even cancelling some existing leases. He has also blocked the leasing program for oil shale, a promising source of oil trapped in massive deposits of rock under parts of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. If progress can be made on technologies to efficiently extract the oil from the rock, oil shale could single-handedly supply America’s oil needs for many decades and possibly a century or more.
What to Do Instead
Instead of clamping down on domestic energy supplies, American energy policy should embrace these ideas:
Expand offshore and onshore oil production into previously restricted areas, including Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, where an estimated 10 billion barrels of oil–16 years of current imports from Saudi Arabia–lie beneath a few thousand acres that can be accessed with minimal environmental impact;
Reduce the regulatory and legal delays that can slow and sometimes stop production;
Allow further progress on oil shale; and
Prevent costly new anti-energy regulations from being imposed in the name of addressing global warming.
These principles are contained in bills such as the American Energy Innovation Act (H.R. 2828), the No Cost Stimulus Act (S. 570 and H.R. 1431), and the American Energy Act (H.R. 2846).
Meanwhile,China, India, and other developing countries have sidestepped demands to limit their own emissions by arguing for years that the U.S. was still on the sidelines. Obviously that’s not the case anymore. In that sense, any U.S. domestic agreement on climate change should improve the chances of getting the world’s fastest-growing emitters to cooperate later this year at the big climate-change confabs.
And It is one of the paradoxes of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change that companies in Russia and other Eastern European countries, which are among the world’s largest producers of greenhouse gases, are poised to earn hundreds of millions of dollars through trading their rights to release carbon dioxide into the air.
The Kyoto treaty, negotiated in 1997 and adopted by 36 industrial nations, established a mechanism aimed at finding the cheapest way to curb emissions of gases that contribute to global warming. The idea was that countries that produced more than their treaty-imposed limits could reach their goals by buying rights from producers in other countries where controlling output is easier and less expensive.
It is not clear how successful that approach will turn out to be. But because Russia’s companies operate such outdated and inefficient equipment, they can easily and cheaply upgrade. As a result, the Kyoto process has already emerged as a potential source of earnings for the country’s big energy and manufacturing companies, according to company executives and analysts. They have hired consultants, inventoried pollution sources to earn credits, and opened carbon-trading divisions.
In my belated opinion this could do more harm to our National defense and our way of life than any legislation proposed or passed by Congress since we became a Republic!
And I still believe we should oppose Obamacare!!
Source: The Heritage Foundation, Andrew E.Kramer of New York Times