US Business Lobby Rejects 'Energy Rationing'

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:31 PM EDT

( - The United States Senate should reject "energy rationing" amendments that would harm the U.S. economy, the United States Chamber of Commerce said.

In a letter sent to the U.S. Senate Tuesday morning, the Chamber announced its opposition the McCain-Lieberman and Bingaman amendments to the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (S. 10). Those amendments would establish mandatory cap-and-trade programs for greenhouse gas emissions.

"Such amendments will limit the sources of energy the nation can use, impose millions of dollars in new costs on businesses, and will cripple the economy," wrote Bruce Josten, the Chamber's executive vice president.

"Rather than engaging in the costly energy rationing scheme embodied in the McCain-Lieberman or Bingaman amendments, the Senate should let American technological ingenuity work as it has for decades improving environmental quality."

The Climate Stewardship Act, first introduced in the U.S. Senate in 2003 by John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.), was reintroduced in both chambers of Congress in February 2005.

The Chamber said it supports an alternative amendment expected to be introduced by Senators Chuck Hagel (R- Neb.) and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.),which would provide incentives (direct loans, loan guarantees, etc.) for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and also address international as well as national sources of emissions.

The Chamber said votes on the various amendments may be included in its annual "How They Voted" scorecard.

The goal, the chamber said, is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions without devastating the U.S. economy.

Also on Tuesday, the Chamber sent a letter to Treasury Secretary John Snow, opposing a tax on airline tickets proposed at a recent G-8 finance ministers' conference.

"While the goal of increasing aid for development around the world is a worthwhile function of government, taxing a vital, yet economically challenged industry to raise the money is short sighted," said Chamber President and CEO Thomas Donohue.

The G-8 plan would impose a tax on airline tickets to fund international developments projects in Africa, including climate change programs. The proposal was part of an overall package to forgive the debts of poor African countries.

The Chamber said aviation, an essential part of the U.S economy, is facing big strains and imposing additional taxes at such a critical time "would have disastrous effect on the health of the aviation sector and the overall economy."

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce describes itself as the world's largest business federation, representing more than 3 million businesses and organizations of every size, sector and region.

See Earlier Story:
Critics Blast McCain, Lieberman for Playing Politics With Climate Plan (30 July 2003)

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