Business Blog: U.S. in No Position for Cap-and-Trade


Brandon Borgna of American Trucking Associations recently posted on BizCentral.org about the challenges that proposed cap-and-trade measures would place at the feet of the American business community. He writes:

Instituting a cap-and-trade program would require Congress to appropriate billions of dollars for the expansion of federal agencies such as the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in order to handle their expanded responsibilities, according to The Washington Times.
 
A cap-and-trade scheme would create the nation’s largest commodity market almost overnight, requiring the CFTC and other federal agencies to closely monitor the buying and selling of carbon "allowances," which give companies the right to emit carbon dioxide. The Congressional Budget Office reports that the government’s expansion would cost $8 billion over a 10-year period. For the bill to operate effectively, nearly 1,500 new regulations and mandates would have to be approved for at least 21 federal agencies. The rule-making process alone would take years.
 
"The problem is that there’s a mismatch between the government’s capacity and its mission," said Darrell M. West, vice president and director of governance studies at the Brookings Institution.
 
As estimates about the true cost of cap-and-trade continue to rise, Senate Democrats have begun jumping ship on the proposed legislation, news reports say. Sens. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) have urged the Senate to delay legislation that puts caps on greenhouse gas emissions and instead, pass a narrow bill that sets requirements on the use of renewable energy.
 
It is becoming obvious that the White House’s ambitious agenda is simply too costly to put in place, said the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "At a time when our nation’s leaders are desperately trying to find a way out of this economic quagmire, why would Congress consider a bill that would not only impose a national energy tax on every household and small business in the country, but also further restrict our domestic energy production," the Review-Journal said.

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