Wednesday, July 1, 2009

On his website, 9th District Congressman Baron Hill (D-IN) proudly describes himself as a "blue-dog Democrat."
Really! Then could Mr. Hill explain why he joined non-blue-dog Democrats in approving the Cap and Trade bill that narrowly passed the house by just seven votes. Hill has both coal mining and a number of coal-powered power plants in his district. Unless those power plants can buy a whole bunch of clean air credits at an expected hefty cost, the plants will have to undergo prohibitively expensive upgrades or close. Bye, bye jobs.
Purchasing clean air credits is the most feasible alternative for many of these aging plants. The cost will be high. Some investment analysts suggest multi-millions high. Power plant operators will pass the cost of these purchases onto utility payers, the same payers who elected Hill, whose campaign rhetoric rang with terms like fiscal conservative.
And it is not just the cost of clean air credits being passed onto to utility users. Purchasing clean air credits does nothing to clean up the air in Hill's district or anywhere else. It is a scheme that will enrich - you guessed it - Wall Street, which is empowered, under the bill, to set up a mechanism for trading in clean air derivatives.
How will such trading work? Southern Indiana power plant buys clean air credits, raises utility bills, and trees get planted somewhere in the world to offset the pollution puffing out of the Southern Indiana coal burning power plant.
The Cap and Trade bill has dozens of onerous impacts, several of which I outlined in a previous blog entitled CAP AND TAX.
Only a year ago Hill voted yes on HR6899, a bill to renew offshore oil and gas drilling and to extend renewable energy tax credits. His vote on Cap and Trade appears to contradict that previous vote.
Who got to Hill and what was he promised by the White House and House Democrat leaders to vote yes? Whatever was promised, I hope it helps utility users in the 9th Congressional District pay their bills, which are expected to increase a minimum of 15-percent. And that does not include the cost of everything else going up to offset higher energy costs. The bill's impact could be as much as 3000.00 annually on the average American, if House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) is correct. And so far, I have not seen anyone refuting Boehner's dire prediction.
To his credit, fellow southern Indiana Democrat Congressman Brad Ellsworth, voted no on Cap and Trade. And Ellsworth does not flag his name with the term blue-dog. But the residents of the 8th Congressional District, which Ellsworth represents, will suffer just as much as those in Hill's district, along with residents throughout Indiana, already hit hard by the recession.

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