The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Is Anyone Listening?

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted October 23, 2009

More voices are speaking out against the climate legislation being considered on Capitol Hill. Here's a sampling of some of the statements and studies that have been in the news during the past couple of days.

Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchinson and Kit Bond released a report showing that the Waxman-Markey climate bill amounts to a $3.6 trillion energy tax on transportation fuels. The study shows that from 2010 to 2050 motorists, workers and businesses would pay $2.0 trillion more for gasoline; truckers, farmers and businesses would pay $1.3 trillion more for diesel fuel; and airline passengers would be charged $330 billion more to pay for jet fuel.

Reacting to the Hutchinson/Bond study, the American Trucking Association (ATA) issued a news release to remind elected officials that diesel fuel is used to deliver nearly 70 percent of U.S. freight and virtually all consumer goods, including food, clothing and medicine. "Any substantial fuel cost increase imposed directly or indirectly on the trucking industry will cause the cost of all these essential products to rise," ATA said.

Deneen Borelli of Project 21, an African-American leadership network, said that 76 percent of black Americans want Congress to make economic recovery its top priority, not climate legislation. In a Baltimore Sun op-ed, he referenced a new poll showing that inner city, low-income workers believe they could feel the brunt of climate legislation costs. The survey shows that 65 percent of blacks believe lawmakers don't consider their economic and quality of life concerns when formulating climate policies. And more than 70 percent aren't willing to pay above 50 cents a gallon more for gasoline and $50 more per year for electricity.

Additionally, the Business Roundtable called on Congress and the administration to address climate change without hampering the U.S. economy. The Roundtable suggested that the United States enhance energy efficiency, maintain coal's long-term viability, encourage the expansion of nuclear power, expand and modernize the electric grid, and provide access for oil and natural gas exploration and production. "We need to put all energy sources on the table and commit to the development and deployment of advanced energy technologies," said Michael G. Morris, chair of the Business Roundtable's Sustainable Growth Initiative.

Add these voices to the thousands of Energy Citizens who rallied against the House climate bill during the summer congressional recess, and it's clear that many Americans are questioning the wisdom of the Waxman-Markey and Kerry-Boxer proposals. But the question is: are Congress and the administration listening?