Yesterday marked the beginning of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearings on the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act. This comprehensive climate and clean energy legislation, co-sponsored by Senators John Kerry and Barbara Boxer, addresses four urgent national priorities:
- putting America back in control of our energy future
- reasserting American economic leadership and competitiveness
- protecting our families from pollution
- ensuring our national security
Prepared for the onslaught of GOP criticism of the bill’s purported cost, committee chair Barbara Boxer kicked off today’s hearing by highlighting EPA reports asserting that the bill "will carry modest costs for America’s families, the overall impact being 22 cents to 30 cents a day." For such a nominal amount, Senator Boxer argued that Americans can have "home-grown American energy rather than foreign oil from countries who don’t like us," protect children from pollution and inspire private investment and green jobs.
As expected, committee Republicans argued with Democrats over the cost of climate change legislation. Ranking Republican James Inhofe took issue with Senator Boxer’s EPA cost estimates, citing research by the Congressional Budget Office detailing job losses and reduced GDP growth.
Senator John Kerry, the leadoff witness at the hearing and co-sponsor of the legislation, countered Senator Inhofe’s claims:
"Are there some costs? Yes sir, there are some costs. But almost every study that looks at the cost does not factor in the impact of energy efficiency or the impact of new technology or what the impact is of becoming more energy independent. And most importantly, none of them factor in the cost of doing nothing. That’s far more expensive for your folks in Oklahoma."
With the costs of inaction clear, Senator Kerry urged critics to disregard assumptions and base their positions on the facts at hand. "The science is more definitive than ever. The science is screaming at us to take action," said Kerry.