Opinion

Insiders cash in, consumers pay under new energy bill

Photo of Hon. Ernest Istook
Hon. Ernest Istook
Former Republican Congressman
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      Hon. Ernest Istook

      Ernest J. Istook Jr. is a Distinguished Fellow at <a href="http://www.heritage.org/">The Heritage Foundation</a>. Istook served 14 years as a U.S. Congressman, then joined Heritage in 2007. He engaged in a wide and robust range of issues in Congress as he served on the House Appropriations Committee and chaired multiple subcommittees. He also served on the Homeland Security Committee.

      His congressional experience ranged from overall budget and spending issues to all forms of transportation, trade, defense, health care, education, labor, financial services, homeland security, religious liberty, and many others. He is a founder of the Republican Study Committee, the principal conservative caucus in the U.S. House.

      Tapping his broad experience, Istook is a frequent fill-in host for several major national talk radio programs; he writes weekly opinion columns for multiple outlets that include <a href="http://www.newsmax.com/blogs/ErnestIstook/id-66">NewsMax</a>, <a href="http://www.humanevents.com/search.php?author_name=Ernest++Istook">Human Events</a>, and The Daily Caller. His daily radio commentaries are heard on over 80 radio stations. He is a regular guest on many network and cable news and commentary programs.

      Istook’s professional background has been as a journalist, practicing attorney, public official and now policy expert. Overall, he served 25 years in elected office, ranging from city council to state legislature to U.S. Congress, all after he moved to Oklahoma in 1972 from his native Fort Worth, Texas. He also was the Republican nominee for Governor of Oklahoma in 2006.

      Istook holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Baylor University and law degree from Oklahoma City University. He and his wife, Judy, have five adult children and are active in church work. Istook served several years as a Boy Scout Scoutmaster. He is the grandson of Hungarian immigrants and the first college graduate in his entire family tree.

      His personal website is <a href="http://www.istook.com">www.istook.com</a>.

      Follow him on Twitter <a href="http://twitter.com/Ernest_Istook">@Ernest_Istook</a>.

Major players in Washington cheered the latest version of an energy bill, which tries to buy votes with “something for almost everyone.” But beleaguered consumers will get stuck with skyrocketing bills after others feast on new government benefits.

We can expect any new “green jobs” to be offset by a larger loss of existing jobs, possibly up to 3-million, depending on details of how the bill’s cap-and-trade system is implemented to tax carbon dioxide emissions.

“Climate Plan Aims to Provide Something for Everyone,” headlined Congress Daily about the re-worked legislation from Senators John Kerry (D, MA) and Joe Lieberman (D, CT). That same phrase was echoed by a multitude of media.

But the “something” for everyday Americans is higher utility bills—another hit for struggling families in a sour economy.

If the massive new bill stalls from its own complexity, Sen. Harry Reid says he’ll pursue a simpler-but-still-costly backup plan: Dictating that an ever-increasing portion of electric power must be generated from sources other than fossil fuels—a so-called RES “renewable energy standard” which by itself could cost a million jobs as well as higher electric bills and income loss averaging $2,400 a year for a typical family.

Just like the Kerry-Lieberman bill, the RES would force higher bills on unwilling and skeptical Americans.

According to Rasmussen Reports, only 18 percent of voters are willing to pay even $300 a year for cleaner energy or to fight global warming. And 56 percent of all voters say they aren’t willing to pay anything more at all in taxes and utility costs. (19 percent said they’d accept paying only $100 more a year.)

Consumers would pay as businesses passed along the new costs created by the bill. Many benefited groups gathered to attend and support the Kerry-Lieberman announcement, thanks to the potpourri of billions in federal subsidies, incentives and programs. The New York Times wrote, “The Kerry-Lieberman proposal…provid[es] something for every major energy interest — loan guarantees for nuclear plant operators, incentives for use of natural gas in transportation, exemptions from emissions caps for heavy industry, free pollution permits for utilities and modest carbon dioxide limits for oil refiners.” The Times identified the Edison Electric Institute, Nuclear Energy Institute, Duke Energy, and FPL Group as being there; stated that written statements of support were expected from oil giants British Petroleum, ConocoPhillips and Royal Dutch Shell; and reported that the bill had bought silence from the American Petroleum Institute and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber’s public response was timid: “We thank Senators Kerry and Lieberman, as well as Senator Graham, for their work to constructively engage the business community on these issues. The Kerry-Lieberman bill is a work in progress. Few in Congress or the business community have had a chance to review the entire bill.”

  • sandra3dee

    Carbon trading is not climate change. The ICE in England already bought up a carbon trading company which will result in huge profits for them and a lot of money for us for energy. ICE drove up the price of oil to $ 140, remember. Carbon trading is said to be even more lucrative than oil said Goldman Sachs.