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Conservatives &Junk Science Richard Falknor on 02 Apr 2009 08:46 pm

Green Madness: Sanity in the Senate, Unhinged in Annapolis

SCROLL TO BOTTOM FOR UPDATE: “Senate Budget Resolution Includes Good Intentions”

Green Madness: Sanity in the Senate, Unhinged in Annapolis

On March 16 here, we wrote that “Maryland Solons Should Do Their ‘Climate’ Homework” urging that – –

Republican legislators should publicly get behind ways to increase the energy supply here and here rather than shrink Maryland’s economy. After all, Maryland is the fourth largest energy-importing state in the U.S., as Virginia is the second.

The bottom line is that Green Statism like government-run medicine is not about conservation or health-care. Rather these schemes shamelessly, albeit with decreasing effectiveness, attempt to mask the real intention– to give the government class more power over our lives.

Yesterday here in the U.S. Senate, a “Strong Bi-Partisan Majority Votes Down Climate Tax in Budget” [see vote here]– –

“WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, joined a strong bi-partisan majority in voting to keep a devastating climate tax out of the budget. The Johanns amendment, number 735, to prohibit the use of budget reconciliation for cap-and-trade legislation, passed by a vote of 67-31.”
. . . . . . . . . .
“I appreciate the leadership of Senator Johanns and Byrd on this important issue. Opposition to this tactic came from both sides of the aisle, both sides of the Capitol, and all sides of the climate debate itself, including those who have co-sponsored or otherwise supported cap-and-trade.  Passage of the Johanns-Byrd amendment now allows the full Senate to have a full, open, and honest debate about cap-and-trade legislation, which we all know amounts to an enormous new energy tax on the American people.”  

And today, Marlo Lewis here writes “Senate votes to kill cap-and-trade?” (h/t Paul Chesser) —

Well, not overtly, but the Senate voted 89-8 [here, on Tuesday] for an amendment to the Fiscal year 2010 budget resolution (S. Con Res. 13), introduced by Sen. John Thune (R-SD), which would prohibit any future greenhouse gas cap-and-trade initiative from increasing gasoline prices and electricity rates for U.S. households and businesses.  

As University of Colorado professor Roger Pielke, Jr. points out, ‘The entire purpose of cap and trade is in fact to increase the costs of carbon-emitting sources of energy, which dominate US energy consumption. The Thune Amendment thus undercuts the entire purpose of cap and trade.’ In other words, it is impossible to vote for the Thune amendment and support cap-and-trade and be consistent, candid, or straight with the American people.”

Think the national costs of Green Statism might somehow be manageable?  U. S. Senator Inhofe provides us with two illustrative charts showing the breath-taking damage. Click here and here.

But back at the ranch last Friday, the Maryland House of Delegates passed here the “Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act of 2009” with 29 Republican delegates and two Democrat delegates in opposition. 

Six Republican delegates, however, Aumann, Eckardt, Elmore, Frank, Haddaway, and Schuh voted to reinforce the official Maryland position that anthropogenic global warming requires serious Annapolis intervention. Read the bill’s entire Fiscal and Policy Note here to see exactly what costly and intrusive mischief lies in the fine print.

What value will future “studies” mandated by this legislation likely have for Maryland citizens and their prosperity? One way to answer this question is to revisit our article of last December, “Think Tank Drowns Claims of Maryland Green Scheme,” here.  There we summarized the respected Beacon Hill Institute’s  analysis of the Maryland Commission on Climate Change’s “Climate Action Plan.”

Republican House of Delegates leader Tony O’Donnell is to be congratulated for getting 29 members (over 80 per cent) of his caucus to line up against climate alarmism — compared to the lamentable Republican vote against the Maryland Clean Cars Act of 2007 here where Mr. O’Donnell stood in principled opposition with only fifteen of his Republican colleagues (totaling 43 per cent of the caucus) joining him.  Unfortunately only nine (64 per cent) of the Maryland Senate Republicans here stood against climate alarmism just last month. 

* * * * *


“Senate Budget Resolution Includes Good Intentions  

“Senators passed their version of the budget resolution by a 55-43 margin on Thursday. Several amendments related to the President’s budget proposal to raise $646 billion in federal revenues from a cap-and-trade program were voted and adopted.  The Senate agreed on a 67 to 31 vote to an amendment offered by Senators Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) and Robert Byrd (D-WV) that says that cap-and-trade should not be included in budget reconciliation legislation.  Reconciliation bills cannot be filibustered and so require only a simple majority to pass. 


Senator Barbara Boxer’s (D-Calif.) amendment that states that revenues derived from selling rationing coupons under cap-and-trade should be used to help people pay their higher energy bills was passed by a 54 to 43 vote.  But then the Senate passed a competing amendment from Senator John Thune (R-SD) by an 89 to 8 margin.  It states that any energy-rationing legislation passed should not raise energy or gasoline prices. And by a 54 to 44 vote, Senators agreed to an amendment offered by Senator Christopher Bond (R-Mo.) that urges that any climate legislation passed does not cause significant job losses. 


Some people are claiming that passing the Thune amendment means that cap-and-trade is dead in the Senate because cap-and-trade would only work if it raised energy prices. But all these votes are hortatory and non-binding on future Senate votes.  The unavoidable reality is that the colossal revenues that can be generated by auctioning cap-and-trade rationing coupons are an irresistible prospect for many in Congress. Senator Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.) told the Washington Post that cap-and-trade was ‘the most significant revenue-generating proposal of our time’ (you can almost hear his lips smacking). Or as I have been putting it, ‘the biggest tax increase in history.’ So a House-Senate conference committee on the budget could still decide to use budget reconciliation to sneak cap-and-trade through the Senate.”  


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