The Fate of Representative John Carter's Proposed Amendments to Cap and Trade

Texas U. S. Representative John Carter has galloped in to rescue us from the Cap & Tax bill, HR 2454, by proposing limitations on price increases that would repeal the bill automatically if the program raised diesel or gas prices by more than ten cents a gallon or our home electricity bills went up more than twenty dollars a month.  He might just as well have proposed that we turn the whole pack of Democrats out of Congress and the White House for all the good his effort to restrict the tax will be.  Representative Carter is not the original Edgar Rice Burroughs “John Carter, Warlord of Mars,” but he seems to be a pretty good fellow.  However, he has been in Washington long enough to know that in the unlikely event he gets his amendments approved–by those who want to go home and tell all the folks who will be voting in November of 2010 that they tried to limit the costs–it is never going to matter.  You know why:  the committee that works out a resolution between the House version and the Senate version.  It never fails that sensible, popular amendments are stricken while new, more restrictive, harsher language appears out of someone’s brief case.

A new area emerged from the update Rep. Carter sent me, one to be expected:  lo and behold, those poverty-stricken families who make no more than $42,000/year are going to receive “energy stamps” so that only the middle class–which Mr. Obama defined as those making up to a quarter of a million dollars a year–are going to bear the brunt of increased prices.  Fancy that.  What a nifty little dividend for core Democrat voters, new entitlements that tap the public till for gas money and utility bills.  That isn’t going to seem quite as great when they find out that everything goes up when energy does.  Shoes, lollipops, dog food, basketball tickets…

“The debate over this bill is over how much it will raise prices for consumers,” House Republican Conference Secretary Carter said. “Democrats contend the effect will be minimal, so they should have no problem adding these two amendments just to make sure. A vote against either will therefore be a recorded vote to raise energy prices on consumers.”  I would have had a twinkle in my eye if I had uttered those words on the floor of the House because twitting Democrats is always good fun.

Polls from all political angles (Gallup, WSJ, Rasmussen, Fox, CNN, NBC, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, ABC, Planet Green, Stanford University, and Quinnipiac Universities, among others) are turning against “hope and change” and being force fed socialism like a Strasbourg goose.  They show clearly how many of us want what, and here it is, courtesy of Rep. John Carter:

  1. Expanded wind and solar power – 81% public approval
  2. No new energy taxes – 74% public approval
  3. Lower energy prices – 72% public approval
  4. Continue existing oil and gas support – 65% public approval
  5. Expanded offshore and Alaska oil drilling – 63% public approval
  6. Expand nuclear power – 60% public approval

If the bill that comes out of the Conference Committee is no worse than what has been proposed thus far–and this year all such bills do–what we’re going to get is at least an additional dollar a gallon for gas, and much higher electrical, propane, and fuel oil bills for our homes, in addition to raising prices across the board.  Offshore drilling and that in Alaska will be blocked, and existing drilling taxed.   Expanding nuclear power will be prevented by denying the storage of nuclear waste storage at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, while Congress and the White House carol that our electrical needs will be met by new nuclear power plants and vast fields to harvest solar and wind energy.  Those last two require enormous capital outlays and have their own hurdles, including protests about sullying the sacred desert habitat and the cost of erecting vast windmills that turn only when the wind is at sufficient strength and have to be shut off when there is no “storage capacity” for the electricity generated.  I couldn’t say “demand” because there is always a need for electricity; the problem is the electricity has to have somewhere to go or the mill has to be stilled.  As a technical explanation that leaves much to be desired, but it gets the point across:  this isn’t like a kindergarten class holding pinwheels on a breezy day.  Those multi-million dollar towers are stilled by lack of wind and lack of demand (draw.)  With hydroelectric plants “excess” electricity can be used to pump water back up to the lake or reservoir; obviously, it isn’t feasible to send the wind back whence it came.

Drive by the enormous wind farm outside El Paso and see how many of the massive monoliths stand motionless while others spin on any given day.  We aren’t able to use the capacity available now, and Texas has the only independent power grid in America.

The stage is set to destroy the coal industry which provides fifty per cent. of our power; that diminished capacity is not going to be restored by nuclear power plants which will not be allowed to be built and would require between ten and twenty years between obstructionists, greed, theft, and Cape Cod millionaires who block wind generators because they would block the view from their mansions.  Solar panels are costly and fragile, do not work at night, and have eco-opponents…Tidal and volcanic/thermal proposals look good on paper but they are far from “shovel ready.”

“Renewable” resources are a pretty dream but they are nothing to stake our energy supply on at present levels of technology and political forces.  In my book they aren’t anything suitable for private investors unless we throw a little money in one and see if it returns a profit in about twice the time it takes to cultivate a new truffle field.

Linda Brady Traynham

July 1, 2009