Texas Rep. Joe Barton, who has received millions of dollars in campaign contributions from the dirty energy industry, has unveiled a Republican alternative to Democrats’ clean energy jobs legislation that is little more than a handout to polluters. Barton is the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is working on global warming legislation.
Barton’s proposal, which he calls a “viable alternative to a mandatory cap-and-trade plan”, would not only allow polluting industries to continue business as usual, but would repeal recent decisions and mandates that help protect the environment.
According to the Wonk Room, Barton’s plan would preempt state authority to reduce climate-related emissions, repeal the Supreme Court decision which allows the EPA to limit greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, and provide regulatory and financial rewards to coal-burning power plants that use “currently available technology” (i.e. coal).
It would also define nuclear power and advanced coal technology as “renewable”, repeal “decoupling” mandates that reward utilities for reducing wasted energy, promote more oil drilling off the coasts and in the Arctic wildlife refuge, and subsidize fuels produced from coal, oil shale, methane hydrates and tar sands – in other words, the very fuels that have helped to cause global warming in the first place.
Barton’s plan is like an alien (the Sigourney Weaver kind) in sheep’s clothing, an overtly obvious handout to his buddies in Big Energy. The fact that he would even try to disguise it as clean energy legislation would almost be laughable if it weren’t so disturbing.