Cap and trade bill derided as tax increase

Cutting carbon dioxide would add costs to electric bill, other products

A bill in Congress touted as a way to improve the environment by reducing carbon dioxide emissions will hit Georgia folks in their wallets, according to Michael Whiteside, the former CEO of Fayette-Coweta Electric Membership Corporation.

In a meeting about the “cap and trade” bill in Peachtree City Wednesday, Whiteside said Georgia residents could see their electric bills rise by $25 a month initially and then by an additional $30 a month if the current legislation is approved.

Whiteside said there also also efforts underway to have the bill’s major provisions be implemented without Congressional approval by having them adopted as regulations to be enforced by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

That suggestion drew jeers from the crowd at The Gathering Place Wednesday night, which consisted of members from the local 9-12 Project, the Southern Crescent Tea Party Patriots and the Coweta Tea Party Patriots.

State Rep. Matt Ramsey of Peachtree City explained that the cap and trade bill seeks to govern carbon dioxide emissions, with limits set for companies on how much they can emit before having to buy carbon dioxide emission credits from other companies which don’t use them.

“Bottom line what they want us to do is to force you and I, American citizens, businesses and families all across the country to pay more for energy because they know the more we have to pay the less we are going to use energy,” Ramsey said. He added that the increased cost of energy would be passed onto consumers in every good that is purchased.

Ramsey said the bill has passed the U.S. House of Representatives but it has not yet been taken up by the Senate.

“In terms of what it costs Americans ... it will be the largest tax increase in American history,” Ramsey said.

Whiteside pointed out that states like Georgia which rely heavily on coal-fired power plants will be significantly affected by the provisions of the cap and trade system that’s being proposed. Such utilities will have to buy credits from other businesses, and they will pass the costs onto consumers, Whiteside said.

Georgia Sen. Mitch Seabaugh of Sharpsburg, who previously represented Peachtree City in the state legislature, said he knows what cap and trade is really about, and it’s not about improving the environment.

“I am firmly convinced there are those who stand to make a lot of money from cap and trade,” Seabaugh said, adding that he thinks cap and trade revenues will be spent by the federal government on energy programs that currently aren’t competitive in the marketplace.

Seabaugh suggested to members of the audience one of the best ways to fight the federal cap and trade efforts was to continue to write and call local Congressmen. He also urged them to go a step further by doing their own research on global warming and climate change, since that is the rationale that Cap and Trade legislation is aiming to improve.

Seabaugh said that armed with that information on the lack of impact of global warming, audience members should share that information with friends and clients in an effort to spread the word around. He also urged them to challenge other people who suggest that global warming and climate change are significant environmental issues.

“When they make a comment about global warming, ask them, ‘Why do you think that way and what evidence do they think they have,’” Seabaugh suggested. “And you need to be careful because you might have the same question asked of you.”

Whiteside noted that about 45 percent of the government revenues from the cap and trade plan would be redirected to low and middle income residents to offset the increases in their electric bills.

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