by Mike Beard
Shakopee & Prior Lake
One of the key committees I serve on here in the Minnesota Legislature is the Energy Committee. As such, I am squarely in the middle of the whole discussion about your energy supply, and how to ensure it continues to be reliable and affordable into the future.
We are gaining some more perspective as to how much cap-and-trade proposals at the federal and state levels would cost the average Minnesota family: $1,761 and $575 per year, respectively. Those figures are estimates, and generously low ones at that, but we are starting to learn just how hard these proposals would hit our wallets.
CBS News reports the federal cap-and-trade bill, proposed by the Obama administration, would cost taxpayers $200 billion a year overall. That translates to $1,761 per year for the average family, or to look at it a different way, a 15-percent income tax increase. You can read the entire CBS report online.
Similar cap-and-trade systems to auction emissions have been pushed at the state level. A joint study by Business, Agribusiness, utilities and local governments estimates that by 2015 this proposal would cost the average Minnesota family $575 more per year for things like electricity, home heating, and auto fuel, if Minnesota were to "go it alone", or join with a few other midwestern states to form a regional cap zone.
The report indicates more than $42 billion in additional costs to Minnesotans over 40 years; household electricity prices will rise by 17 percent by 2015 and eventually go up 40 percent by 2035. Again, these are the most optimistic numbers. Some experts believe they would go up much more than that.
Negative economic consequences would result in Minnesota, the report says, namely an estimated 21,000 job losses by 2015 and 30,000 by 2025. A summary of this study is available online as a PDF.
The cap and trade proposal is aimed at reducing our carbon dioxide emissions by 80% by 2050, itself a startling number with huge societal consequences. The last time our country had emissions that low was in the early 1900's. In addition, there is a fair amount of disagreement about just how much impact that reduction would really have on the earth's climate, if any.
As we are debating this important issue, rest assured of this one thing: this is NOT a discussion about clean air or clean water. We are all pretty much in agreement on clean air and clean water, and I will stand four square in defense of an environment that is as clean as reasonably possible for our kids and grandkids. Many people think that the global warming debate has moved far beyond good science and into the realm of politics. It appears that the only certain outcome of cap-and-trade legislation is a massive expansion of government control over the energy you use in every facet of your life, and it will be expensive.