Kerry And Lieberman: We Need Cap And Trade Because Of The Gulf Oil Spill

Kerry, Lieberman, And Graham Hold Press Conference On Climate Change

Never let a good crisis go to waste, right?

Because industrial accidents never happen when the government regulates the very air we exhale as a “dangerous pollutant.”

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) said Sunday that the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill helps make the case for passage of the climate change and energy bill that he’s rolling out May 12 with Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.).

Lieberman said on “Fox News Sunday” that he believes the bill can pass this year despite plans to include measures that promote offshore oil-and-gas drilling, noting “I think we’ve got a real shot at this.”

“The oil spill in the gulf reminds us of a couple of things. The first is that we need to transition our energy system to one that doesn’t depend on oil,” Lieberman said.

“But in the meantime, as we’re making the transition, which our bill would accelerate and create millions of new jobs in our country and make us energy independent, we’ve got to continue to use our domestic energy resources, because every barrel of oil we get from American offshore or onshore is one barrel less we are paying for to enemies of the United States around the world,” he added.

The bill is expected to include greenhouse gas emissions caps and provisions to promote alternative energy sources, as well as nuclear power, low-emissions coal projects and offshore drilling.

This is a totally specious argument. These Senators know that cap and trade legislation is extremely unpopular and so they’re looking to capitalize on the media hysteria surrounding the gulf oil spill to make their case.

But the argument they’re making, also made in a McClatchy editorial I responded to over the weekend, doesn’t make a lot of sense. For one thing, as the McClatchy editorial suggests, oil is becoming harder and more expensive to produce. As time goes on, oil prices rise. Eventually they will get to a point where alternative energy sources become viable in the market place (without subsidies, none of the various “green” energies are currently viable).

What Lieberman and Kerry want to do is hasten the rise in fossil fuel energy costs so that those green alternatives become viable sooner. The problem? Such a push is going to be devastating for our economy.

100% of our nation’s air travel is fueled by fossil fuels. Something like 85% of our nation’s ground transportation is fueled fossil fuels. Coal, alone, accounts for 51% of our national power grid. Artificially inflating the cost of fossil fuels is going to inflate the cost of living and doing business in the United States.

That means people losing their jobs, families doing with less, across the nation all so that some politicians can sit around and pat themselves on the back for being “green.”

Let’s let the market take its course. I think that one day we’ll move away from fossil fuels, but if the politicians insist on making that move at the point of the government’s tax and regulatory sword it’s not going to end well.

Rob Port

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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