Alabama Legislature Rejects Waxman-Markey Principles

Published September 1, 2009

The Alabama legislature has passed a resolution stating any action to address global climate change should be done in a way that “safeguards American jobs, ensures affordable energy for citizens, and maintains America’s global competitiveness.”

More, Not Less, Energy

In light of the nation’s growing energy needs, the resolution states, “any system to regulate greenhouse gas emissions must ensure the availability of sufficient, affordable energy, including clean energy, before restricting emissions in a manner that could reduce the volume of energy available to consumers.”

Mindful of the burden to American consumers from high energy costs, the resolution states, “any system to regulate greenhouse gas emissions must not add to the already high costs of power and gasoline.”

Overseas Emissions Growth

The resolution notes “the greenhouse gas emissions of developing countries are rising more rapidly than the emissions of the United States and have surpassed the greenhouse gas emissions of the United States and other developed countries.”

In light of the growth and development occurring in developing nations such as India and China, “any system to regulate greenhouse gas emissions must not eliminate American jobs and diminish the ability of American industry to compete in the global marketplace,” the legislature resolved.

Bipartisan Opposition

Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis, says the resolution shows Alabama is putting American consumers first. And in light of the unanimous vote by Alabama’s congressional delegation against the Waxman-Markey energy bill, the state’s lawmakers are also standing up to harmful climate legislation at the federal level, Burnett notes.

“There’s no way around it,” said Burnett. “The Waxman-Markey bill is a monstrosity that will harm the American economy, make the poor less well off, hurt everyone’s pocketbooks, and help our foreign competitors in China and India.”

Jobs at Risk

The resolution noted Alabama has lost 84,800 manufacturing jobs since 1998 and manufacturing contributes $27 billion to the Alabama economy, 19 percent of the gross state product.

“We were pleased that several very direct and strongly worded resolutions passed the Alabama Legislature in opposition to the pending federal energy tax, known as cap and trade,” said Michael Ciamarra, vice president of the Alabama Policy Institute.

“Legislative resolutions reflect the prevailing consensus of a majority of a state legislature and are, generally, public policy statements,” Ciamarra added. “Both the Democratic leadership and the Republican leadership were unanimous in recognizing the devastating impact that the Waxman-Markey climate bill will have on the southern states.”

For example, Ciamarra notes, the energy bill would mean $337 million in new taxes for Alabama energy producers and $4.5 billion in new taxes for energy companies in the Southeast.

“Those costs will be passed on to ratepayers,” said Ciamarra. “Further, Waxman-Markey will require as much as 20 percent of a state’s energy to be produced by ‘renewable sources.’ Alabama can’t produce the necessary wind or solar energy to meet those heavy-handed, imposed government objectives.”

Drew Thornley ([email protected]) writes from Texas.