Democrats’ Cap and Trade Bills Would Dry Up Federal Permits for Businesses, Republicans Warn

By Susan Jones | November 11, 2009 | 10:05 AM EST

( - Sens. David Vitter (R-La.) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) are warning that the Democrats’ cap-and-trade bills contain a damaging provision that would stop any form of economic development requiring federal permits.

Both the Waxman-Markey bill, which passed the House in June, and the Kerry-Boxer bill, which recently passed a Senate committee, direct the president to take action if the U.S. does not achieve targeted cuts in domestic greenhouse gas emissions – or if global actions (in China, India, Russia, for example) produce rising temperatures and higher greenhouse gas concentrations. 
Section 707 of both the House and Senate bills read in part, “[T]he president shall direct relevant Federal agencies to use existing statutory authority to take appropriate actions” if emissions targets (as outlined in the bill) are not met.
If further emissions reductions are needed, either domestically or globally, the president must submit a report to Congress recommending steps – including legislation – to achieve those reductions.
The text of the House bill, Section 707, reads: “The President shall, not later than July 1, 2015, and every 4 years thereafter, submit to Congress a plan identifying domestic and international actions that will achieve necessary additional greenhouse gas reductions, including any recommendations for legislative action.” The Senate bill includes virtually identical language.
Vitter noted that the Democrats’ legislation applies to all federal agencies and to all statutes. Bottom line – beginning in July 2015, the president would have no choice but to terminate further economic development requiring any form of federal permits, the senators warned.
“This is a direct threat to American businesses and American jobs,” Barrasso said.
In addition to drying up federal permits, the legislation will require the president to deal with higher greenhouse gas concentrations stemming from economic growth in China, India, and Russia: The president will be mandated to shrink the U.S. economy while economic expansion occurs overseas, the senators warned.
“Emergency powers are granted to the President in times of natural disaster, war or after events like the 9/11 attacks,” Barrasso said. “The President should not have the power to pick winners and losers in our already struggling economy. The result will be tens of thousands of jobs lost, higher energy prices and no environmental benefit to show for it.”
Vitter said he’s sent letters to companies that have supported cap-and-trade proposals informing them of how the Democrat bills may impact their businesses.
The House bill – which would cut emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 -- runs around 1427 pages. The Senate bill – which calls for a 20 percent cut -- runs 821 pages.