The Subcommittee on Energy and Power held a hearing titled “The Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011” on Wednesday, February 9th, to discuss draft legislation, authored by Chairman Upton and Subcommittee Chairman Whitefield, to prevent the EPA from implementing a cap-and-trade national energy tax through regulations under the Clean Air Act.
Republicans on the Committee were dominated by oil producing states, Texas and Lousianna, claiming EPA rules would; cause rolling blackouts, double food prices, destroy family farms, block $300 billion in economic investments that could create 1.5 million new jobs, close US manufacturing plants, kill thousands of jobs, export jobs, etc.
The Committee’s lead witness was global warming denier Senator Inhoffe. No scientists were allowed to testify.
The EPA's testimony that independent studies show Clean Air Act regulations have provided economic benefits that exceed costs by a factor of 30-1 was ignored.
EPA Administrator, Lisa Jackson, defended the Obama Adminsitration’s policy, EPA’s endangerment finding, and various other EPA proposed regulations that came under attack during her testimony.
Jackson said the attacks were part of a larger Republican project to roll back years of environmental and safety protections.“I think this is a serious effort to weaken the clean air act,” she said. Jackson was defending a set of EPA proposed (not yet adopted) regulations.
Nine of the 12 new Republicans on the panel signed a pledge distributed by a Koch founded advocacy group, Americans for Prosperity, to oppose the Obama administration's proposal to regulate greenhouse gases. Of the six GOP freshman lawmakers on the panel, five benefited from the group's separate advertising and grass-roots activity during the 2010 campaign.
The billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch are now at the center of Republican power.
Wichita-based Koch Industries and its employees formed the largest single oil and gas donor to members of the panel, ahead of giants like Exxon Mobil, contributing $279,500 to 22 of the committee's 31 Republicans, and $32,000 to five Democrats.
The new committee members include a congressman who has hired a former Koch Industries lawyer as his chief of staff, and Rep. Morgan Griffith of Virginia. By some estimates, the advocacy group spent more than a quarter-million dollars on negative ads in Griffith's campaign.
"I'm just thankful that you all helped in so many ways," Griffith told an Americans for Prosperity rally not long after his election.