January 16, 2014

Crapo: Presidentâ??s Climate Action Plan Flawed

Concerned that plan would have severe economic consequences without measurable benefits

Washington, D.C. - Today, Idaho Senator Mike Crapo participated in a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing entitled, "Review of the President's Climate Action Plan."  President Obama announced his Climate Action Plan last summer which, according to the administration, aims to cut emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, and strives to encourage adaptation to expected climate change.  In the plan, the president lays out a series of measures to cut carbon pollution; prepare the U.S. for the impacts of climate change; and lead international efforts to address global climate change.

"First, I agree on the need for continued research in the field of climate science in order to gain the necessary knowledge needed to implement effective policies dealing with the globe's changing temperatures," Crapo said.  "Protecting and improving our natural environment is a goal shared by many, but there is strong disagreement on how to accomplish these goals.  The recent climate change proposals issued by President Obama, however, will have severe economic consequences without measurable environmental benefits if fully implemented.  Further, they would undermine the utilization of our own traditional, affordable sources of energy and increase the cost of electricity for consumers. 

"In general, the best policies for addressing climate change are grounded in three basic principles: sound, peer-reviewed science; protection of our quality of life; and policies that promise the greatest benefit to both the environment and people without harming our economy.  We must utilize an 'all of the above' approach that includes a robust expansion of nuclear energy production, hydroelectric power, and other promising renewable and emissions reducing technologies.  By expanding and diversifying our energy portfolio, we can reduce risks to the environment, promote a strong domestic energy sector and increase our energy security," Crapo concluded.

(Click here to view the video on YouTube)

Senator Crapo's opening statement, as prepared for delivery:

Thank you, Madam Chairman, for holding this important hearing on the President's Climate Action Plan.

I share many of the concerns outlined by my colleagues on this panel and welcome this opportunity to hear from the federal officials assembled in the first panel who have and will continue to generate the President's core policies on climate change.  Many of my concerns with the President's current action plan stem from issues we have wrestled with this administration in the past.

For instance, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has, without providing for public comment or peer review, adjusted upwards the Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) to modify the accounting for benefits claims from regulatory actions.

Moreover, proposed regulations of greenhouse gases from new and existing sources are likely to cripple numerous large scale manufacturing and energy projects across the nation, creating an environment in which foreign countries will become far more attractive for future investment, potentially undermining our economy.

In another instance, the Treasury Department obstructed multiple transparency requests for more than nine months regarding internal work on the development of a carbon tax, as well as the sources of funding for international climate commitments that were negotiated behind closed doors.

We can all agree that affordable energy is a critical component of having a healthy and robust economy in the United States, and we are fortunate to have tremendous energy resources here at home.  As such, I am concerned that the administration's proposals threaten to undermine an important sector of our economy and the industries and jobs it supports in the name of modest environmental gains. 

Additionally, as a guiding principle, I encourage the federal government to adopt policies that are supported by the stakeholders most affected.  In reviewing the testimony provided by members of President Obama's Administration today, I am concerned that the views of those most likely to be negatively impacted by new EPA regulations have not been appropriately considered.  Protecting and improving our natural environment is a goal shared by many, but there is strong disagreement on how to accomplish these goals.

In general, the best policies for addressing climate change are grounded in three basic principles: Sound, peer-reviewed science; Protection of our quality of life; and Policies that promise the greatest benefit to both the environment and people without harming our economy.

The recent climate change proposals issued by President Obama, however, will have severe economic consequences and not likely lead to measurable environmental benefits if fully implemented.  Further, they would undermine the utilization of our own traditional, affordable sources of energy and increase the cost of electricity for consumers.  Rather, we must utilize an "all of the above" approach, which should include a robust expansion of nuclear energy production, hydroelectric power, and other promising renewable and emissions reducing technologies.  By expanding and diversifying our energy portfolio, we can reduce risks to the environment, promote a strong domestic energy sector and increase our energy security.

I support legislative solutions that preserve and enhance our natural environment.  However, I am deeply concerned that unilateral EPA regulation of greenhouse gas emissions is already imposing major burdens on our economy without resulting in commensurate environmental benefits.  I agree on the need for continued research in the field of climate science in order to gain the necessary knowledge needed to implement effective policies.  The issue is fraught with significant social, environmental and economic consequences and it is essential we get it right.    

As such, I look forward to hearing from Dr. Judith Curry today and her work at Georgia Institute of Technology.  After reviewing her testimony, I am interested to learn more about the assertion that the science surrounding anthropogenic climate change is far from settled.  Again, I look forward to the witnesses testimonies.