U.S. Rep. Mike Pence says a proposal by congressional Democrats to regulate gases some blame for global warming could cost the average American household more than $3,000 a year in higher energy costs.
Pence, a Republican from Indiana, said Democrats’ proposed cap-and-trade legislation to deal with carbon dioxide emissions would also drive more American manufacturing jobs to other countries.
“I think, rightly understood, the cap-and-trade legislation represents an economic declaration of war on the Midwest by liberals in Washington,” Pence told The Muncie Star Press in a telephone interview.
Most Republicans are opposed to the Democrats’ cap-and-trade approach, which would cap emissions of greenhouse gases and allow companies to trade permits to emit greenhouse gases. And a number of Democrats from coal-producing and industrial states argue some ways must be found to limit the economic impact in their regions.
Pence, a member of the House Republican leadership who’s considered one of his party’s new voices, said the East and West coasts would be the least affected by the cap-and-trade legislation. He noted that the bill was drafted by Democratic Reps. Henry Waxman of California and Edward Markey of Massachusetts.
The legislation would essentially cap carbon dioxide emissions from coal-burning power plants, “the kind of plants Indiana and most of the Midwest are most dependent on for our electricity needs,” Pence said.
“If ever there was a time that Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Illinois were unable to take the impact of what amounts to a national energy tax, it’s a time like this,” Pence said. “The last thing we need is higher energy costs.”
Pence said that in response to the cap-and-trade proposal he expects “a major Republican push” for the nation to move further toward nuclear-generated electricity, which currently provides about 18 percent of the nation’s power.
“There are no CO2 emissions there. And in terms of safety, that’s why places like Japan and France draw over 75 percent of their electricity on average from nuclear,” he said.