Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison sent the following letter to Grist reader Blanca Estela in early October, responding to questions about the senator’s stance on climate legislation. Hutchison says she opposes a cap-and-trade system, arguing that it would raise energy prices for average Americans and cause economic hardship. She says she does want to invest in alternative energy.
Thank you for contacting me regarding the American Clean Energy and Security Act. I welcome your thoughts and comments.
In our effort to reduce emissions, I believe we must invest in alternative sources of energy. Wind, solar, nuclear, and biomass are clean, safe and effective sources of power. Their increased use would create thousands of jobs and allow us to produce energy for Americans, by Americans.
Some Members of Congress have expressed their intent to mandate a cap-and-trade policy to be imposed on all Americans. I believe that cap-and-trade would increase energy prices. In 2008, Peter Orszag, who then served as the Director of the Congressional Budget Office, and who now serves as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, testified before the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Finance on the implications of a cap-and-trade regime. In his testimony, Director Orszag stated, “Under a cap-and-trade program, firms would not ultimately bear most of the costs of the allowances but instead would pass them along to their customers in the form of higher prices.”
For this reason, I believe that a cap-and-trade approach to address climate change would be onerous and would adversely impact the economy. It could create economic hardship for farmers, ranchers, workers and small businesses, in addition to consumers. The last thing our nation needs during this time of economic hardship is higher energy prices and higher levels of unemployment due to a federal mandate passed down from Washington.
As cap-and-trade legislation comes before the Senate, I will keep your comments in mind. I appreciate hearing from you, and I hope you will not hesitate to keep in touch on any issue that is important to you.
Kay Bailey Hutchison
United States Senator