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Environmental bill’s proponents forgot to mention the economic sticker shock

June 21, 2008
It is unlikely that an astronomically expensive pollution control bill being championed by many environmentalists will be approved by the U.S. Senate. That is because most senators understand that money does not grow on trees. Fortunately, they have killed the bill — at least for now.

One of the bill’s chief proponents, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., would like you to believe that it does. Passage of the bill would “give us the resources to help consumers with energy costs, without increasing the (federal) deficit,” she proclaimed this week.

It is true that the bill would earmark about $800 billion over a 40-year period to provide tax breaks intended to help Americans with energy costs. But where would the money originate? It would come from “allowances” some industries would purchase, permitting them to exceed maximum air pollution limits in the law.

Those industries would have to increase prices they charge consumers, to pay for the allowances. In addition, many industries, including electric power utilities, would have to spend mountains of money to comply with the pollution limits. One estimate is that the bill would cost the economy $4.6 trillion a year by 2030. Again, consumers would pay.

Boxer and her comrades prefer not to mention the terrible burden their bill would place on consumers. Fortunately, a majority of senators, understand it.


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