E-News Signup



*By entering your e-mail address, you are subscribing to my newsletter.

Contact Olson

Search Bill

  • Search Bill

    Search by Word/Phrase:
    Search by Bill Number:
Print

Area lawmakers speak out on cap and trade legislation


Area lawmakers speak out on cap and trade legislation
By MARK FLEMING
Updated: 01.06.10

U. S. Representative Pete Olson, whose district includes parts of Pasadena and Deer Park, on Tuesday hosted a Carbon Regulation Roundtable at which he and other area lawmakers heard from representatives of industries that will be affected by “cap and trade” legislation that has passed the U. S. House and will be considered by the U. S. Senate.

In addition to Olsen and U. S Represenative Kevin Brady, the political leaders attending the session were State Senator Mike Jackson, whose district includes parts of Pasadena and Deer Park; State Representative Ken Legler, whose district includes part of Pasadena; State Representative John Davis, whose district includes part of Pasadena; State Representative Larry Taylor, whose district includes Friendswood; and State Representative Randy Weber, whose district includes Pearland. All are Republicans.

Representatives from area petrochemical industies were invited to the event, which was held at San Jacinto College Central.

The cap and trade legislation is intended to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, which have been connected to global climate change, though there is political and scientific controversy about the matter. The legislation passed the House with most Democrats favoring it and most Republicans opposing it, though a few members of both parties broke ranks with their party leadership in the vote.

Olson, speaking after the roundtable, said the petrochemical industry representatives were opposed to the cap and trade bill and other energy legislation supported by the presidential administration. “What we heard,” he said, “was a unanimous chorus that this bill that’s currently passed the House of Representatives and is being talked about in the United States Senate will be detrimental to the Greater Houston area of Texas and the United States of America. [The laws] are going to result in increased cost for electricity for all Americans, increased energy costs across the board, and, most importantly, our country losing jobs overseas.”

Brady, who is U. S. Representative from The Woodlands area, echoed Olson’s sentiments. He said, “I think the message today is cap and trade is devastating to our economy, won’t help the environment, and needs to be killed.” Brady said he would “focus on what we all share, which is cleaner-burning fuel, cleaner air in the future, and doing it in a way that actually benefits our economy and doesn’t harm it.”

The members of the state legislature who spoke repeatedly lifted Texas as a model of how to address environmental concerns while promoting economic growth. Taylor said Texas has achieved more improvement in air quality in the last 10 years than any other state, while also leading the nation in job creation. Legler said he could remember when both the air and the water were much more polluted than they are now.

Olson said energy needs should be addressed both by alternative energy sources including nuclear power and also by opening more areas to offshore drilling. He accused the government of inconsistency by no allowing drilling off much of the United States Coast while spending money to help Brazil develop offshore oil drilling. “It makes no sense to me that we’re providing jobs in Brazil and not here at home in America,” he said.

Brady said, “If the Senate will give up on a very, I think, extreme agenda on cap and trade, and go toward a more reasonable approach on how do we transition to cleaner-burning fuels, which I think would have overwhelming support in both House and Senate, I think we can do all three: access [for drilling], nuclear and cleaner-burning fuels.”

While most of the speakers spoke of the future job losses that could come if the cap and trade legislation is passed, Taylor suggested jobs are already being lost as industry postpones research, development and infrastructure development due to the uncertainty about future legislation.