Teague explains cap-and-trade vote

July 4, 2009

The recent passage of the American Clean Energy and Security Act by the U.S. House of Representatives has created a heated debate that it will increase taxes, raise utility rates and create job losses.

The bill passed the House by a vote of 219 to 212 on Friday.

Congressman Harry Teague, D-District 2, voted in favor of the bill after provisions were added that Teague pushed to protect small refineries and electric co-ops.

Teague said he is proud of the provisions that were added.

“We would have lost thousands of jobs without the provisions,” he said. “We saved the small refineries across the nation, not just the five small refineries in New Mexico.”

Teague said the small refineries are vital to our nation’s security.

“They provide fuel to places like Holloman Air Force Base,” he said. “Almost all, if not all, of the fuel used in New Mexico is furnished by small refiners.”

The American Clean Energy and Security Act basically is a bill to reduce carbon-based emissions. The bill has allowances, or caps, that would put a limit on industries producing greenhouse gas emissions and set up a trading system.

The bill allows for industries to receive a certain amount of allowances, then trade or sell any unused allowances, or permits, to emit carbon-based emissions or gases within a year’s time.

Teague said he believes much disinformation has been distributed to people.

“The facts are that there are no taxes to the producers of New Mexico,” he said. “The first application is for the refineries and generators of electricity.”

Teague said the Coalition of Small Business Refiners and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association have endorsed the bill since he pushed for the added provisions.

“We have 13 rural co-ops that come into District 2,” he said. “It’s 170,000 members just in my district. We got them most of the allowances that they needed to continue producing.”

Teague said it saved jobs and expenses for families.

“It lessens the carbon imprint that we emit,” he said. “It’s mostly to make the United States energy independent and energy efficient. It’s to get projects going, like in Otero County with solar energy and biofuels here up in the mesa in Las Cruces.”

Janet White, of Alamogordo, said she never liked the bill.

“The protections are not going to help us,” she said. “Our utility bills or electricity bills are going to be increased by 90 percent.”

White said the Congressional Budget Office stated the bill will need energy tax credits or rebates to certain low-income families to offset the impact of higher energy related prices from the cap-and-trade programs.

“They’re admitting costs are going to go up,” she said. “They’re admitting they’re going to have to help low-income families.”

White said she also doesn’t like the fact that companies are issued carbon units.

“A company can purchase units from a company that doesn’t use them,” she said. “Why injure America with something that’s basically a global problem. Why put us in the back seat. Other large countries, like China and India, are not going to sign on to cap-and-trade. They’re laughing at us.”

Teague said the bill will be implemented in 2012.

“The budget office recommends that it could raise energy costs less than the price of a postage stamp, or 35 cents a day,” he said. “Everyone that has a Web site has published a number. Those numbers go from zero to thousands of dollars. Look and see who has come up with those numbers.”
Teague said the allowances to business will be given to them.

“The business will get all of the allowances that they need,” he said. “It’s so they won’t have to pass the cost on to the consumer.”

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