Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Chambliss Statement on Climate Change Legislation

U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., spoke on the Senate floor today and underscored concerns that legislation currently being debated, “The Lieberman-Warner-Boxer Climate Security Act of 2008,” would negatively impact American families by imposing higher energy costs and forcing American businesses to move to countries with more lenient environmental regulations. Excerpts of Senator Chambliss’ floor remarks are below and can be viewed in their entirety on his website at

Climate change is a critical issue that is important not only to this generation but future generations. I have two grandchildren, and I want to make sure that we leave America better than what we inherited. Economic models have overwhelmingly shown that this bill will affect consumers directly through higher gasoline and electricity prices, resulting in lower household incomes and millions of jobs being lost in America. Like many of my colleagues, I spent the Memorial Day recess traveling around my home state. The average price of a gallon of diesel was $4.77 per gallon, and regular gasoline averaged $3.98 per gallon, and these rising costs are my constituents' number one issue. Therefore, it troubles me that some in this body want to enact legislation that would further increase the price of a gallon of gas. I hear from hundreds of Georgians every day who are struggling to fill up their tanks to get to work or to take their kids to school or to run their necessary errands. EPA models show that gasoline prices will rise by a minimum of 53 cents per gallon if this bill were implemented. Why would we do that to the American people who are already hurting in filling up their gas tanks at the pump?

Regrettably, the legislation before the Senate would do nothing to increase our domestic supply of oil and help alleviate the lack of supply of gas that is driving prices up. Instead, this bill would only keep prices rising. No one disputes that this problem has been in the making for decades, because over the past 30 years, the United States has reduced our domestic exploration options and left our refining capacity stagnant. The rising cost of fuel requires a multipronged strategy to respond. That is why we must take commonsense action and increase our domestic supply of oil by exploring where we know there are resources available and encouraging the development of alternative fuels like cellulosic ethanol to decrease our reliance on foreign oil.

We must find both short-term and long-term solutions to provide energy security for our nation. I believe this bill could be more fair and equitable. We also should work to make it more predictable for businesses and understandable to taxpayers and consumers. One of the greatest challenges to any climate bill will be to ensure that it does not stymie economic growth and protects American jobs. We need to continue to seek the best way to generate the greatest benefits for the lowest costs. We cannot burden our children and grandchildren with increased energy costs. Our climate bill must be flexible to adjust to changing science, economic conditions, and the actions of other countries.

No comments: