GOP Energy Summit Attacks Democrats’ Global Warming Bill

Posted May 5, 2009 at 7:04pm

Leading House Republicans on Tuesday kicked off a national energy summit by focusing not so much on advancing GOP energy proposals as on bashing Democrats’ global warming legislation.

“The mission of the American Energy Solutions Group is first to stop a profoundly bad idea in the form of the national energy tax, the cap-and-trade bill,— said Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), chairman of the group, which is organizing GOP energy summits around the country.

Pence, who also heads the House Republican Conference, was joined by more than a dozen Republicans and a panel of energy experts in outlining reasons for opposing the cap-and-trade proposal put forward by Democrats. Hazards of the bill were said to range from job losses to tax increases to environmental destruction in other countries.

The Democratic global warming bill is “tantamount to an economic declaration of war on the Midwest by liberals in Washington, D.C.,— Pence said. Republicans are going to “carry that message to the American people so they can count the costs of this so-called cap-and-trade legislation. That’s job one.—

Pence said Republicans will “soon— offer a plan of their own that is more environmentally friendly than the Democratic plan, in part because it will rely on increased use of nuclear energy.

The working group, which consists of 29 Members, is bringing together different panels of energy experts and business leaders at each of its stops. Summits are scheduled for Pittsburgh, Indianapolis and California later this month. The kickoff meeting took place in the Capitol.

The second mission of the group, Pence said, is to build on Republicans’ “all of the above— energy legislation from last year in crafting their alternative global warming proposal. The prior bill emphasized energy production from all sources, including increased domestic oil drilling.

Republicans will tweak that bill to add provisions relating to nuclear and clean-coal technology, both of which are alternative sources of energy that “allow for improvement of our environment without chasing … energy jobs out of this country,— Pence said.

Pence emphasized that GOP lawmakers are committed to a cleaner environment, despite varying opinions on the science behind global warming and opposition to cap-and-trade legislation.

“We’re all committed to encouraging the development of clean-coal technologies and cleaner air,— he said. “While some may like to bog this debate down in the science over the manmade origins of global warming, we prefer rather to focus on — let’s all move toward a horizon of cleaner air.—

Pence brushed off the idea of joining forces with a bipartisan group of lawmakers who, earlier Tuesday, unveiled their own pro-drilling energy reform proposal. That proposal, co-sponsored by Reps. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii) and Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), was first crafted last year and garnered nearly 100 supporters at the time.

“I’ve spoken to colleagues about that effort,— Pence said, adding that the Republican Conference will weigh all ideas offered up by Members. “We look forward to examining their proposal as we develop the Republican alternative.—