So our office is getting a few phone calls over Sue's vote last week in the Energy and Commerce Committee on the so called ACES bill. Most of the calls are from members of Moveon.org.
The unfortunate thing is that there was a lot of the bill that Sue actually supported and wanted to vote for, but couldn't because the overriding bill was just too expensive and bad for the economy.
First, according to a study prepared for the National Black Chamber of Commerce by CRA International, by 2030, the bill would reduce GDP roughly $350 billion below the baseline level; cut net employment by 2.5 million jobs (even after accounting for new green jobs); and reduce average earnings for the average US worker by $390 per year. This study can be found at www.nationalbcc.org
Second, the bill if it became law would increase electricity prices for consumers and businesses. There is no cost containment or safety valve mechanism to prevent electricity price spikes. The Democrats on the committee consistently opposed Republican amendments that would have stopped the implementation of the carbon cap if job losses reached certain levels,or if consumer electricity rates increased by certain percentages (the last amendment they opposed would have stopped implementation if consumer utility bills increased by 100%).
Third, there is no significant nuclear power development in the bill. If the goal of the bill is to produce emission free energy and to create jobs, what better way than nuclear power? Nuclear power provides a reliable generation of electricity, which intermittent sources like wind and solar do not, necessary for the base load power needed to prevent brownouts during peak demand. The construction of one new nuclear plant creates at least 2000 construction jobs and after it's completed employs roughly 800 full time employees at high wages.
Fourth, the bill does not account for international issues. Democrats rejected an amendment that would have delayed implementation of the carbon emission caps until China and India implement similar programs. Without this protection, US companies will ship jobs overseas to countries without GHG emission caps and with cheaper electricity (China brings one new coal-fired plant online each week). Without the buy-in of China and India, the environmental impact of the US reductions will be negligible.
Finally, for a variety of reasons, this bill punishes certain regions (Southeast and Midwest in particular) because it does not adequately take into account geographic limitations to producing renewable energy or historic electricity generation.
For those reasons, Sue voted against it.