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Cap and Trade: It's a Political Energy Scheme

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By State Rep. SUSAN LYNN

Right now the state and federal government are trying to impose several energy related schemes. These energy schemes, if put into effect, would severely increase energy prices for all Americans. One of the policies currently being discussed by our federal delegation is cap and trade legislation. Cap and trade, if enacted, would more than double electricity rates as well as violate good business ethics and economic fairness.

This energy policy to reduce carbon emissions is neither upfront nor affordable. Cap and trade is a complex and confusing scheme that will do little to help the environment. 

A cap and trade system is comparable to the recent schemes that put our housing and financial markets in the dire straits they are in today. Such a system would be an unaccountable, non-transparent trading of complex by-products. By first limiting carbon emissions and then granting permits that can be bought, sold and traded between companies we create a murky and inefficient process aimed at reducing carbon emissions.    

The worst part of cap and trade legislation is that it may not even help the environment. Europe has had a cap and trade policy in effect for several years but it has had limited impact on the environment. The greenhouse gas emissions actually increased at a faster rate in Europe than in the United States from 2000 to 2006. 

Not only will this scheme do nothing to help the environment, but it will also create an increased burden for Tennesseans and all Americans. The Congressional Budget Office predicts that cap and trade would raise the rates of electricity anywhere from 44 to 129 percent with people in states like Tennessee that are highly dependant on fossil fuels suffering the most.

Additionally, this strategy could actually increase our environmental problems by sending industries to countries that do not have a cap and trade policy. Companies could simply relocate to countries like China or India with no limits on their carbon emissions, adversely affecting the entire world.

Why during these tough economic times does our government want to increase our electricity rates by enacting a bureaucratic and complex method for reducing carbon emissions? Businesses and consumers simply cannot afford such an increase for a policy that has already been shown to be ineffective.   

Cap and trade is an ineffective policy that would do little to help the environment while at the same time increasing electricity rates on Tennesseans. We should all be aware of these schemes that will do no more than increase the political pork that is all too prevalent in Washington, D.C.

Editor’s Note: State Rep. Susan Lynn, R-Lebanon, represents House District 57.

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