Proposed Climate Change Legislation Will Bankrupt the Masses

By: Delicia Stewart
By: Delicia Stewart

Throughout most of my life, I’ve lived in the southeast – North Carolina, Georgia, Florida.

In all those places, I encountered the strength and fortitude of proud hard working families struggling to keep things together and trying to make ends meet.

Over the years, I have watched members of Congress from other regions create laws that benefit their constituents at the sake of those from different parts of the country, but never have I seen anything as egregious as the so-called American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACESA), co-sponsored by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry A. Waxman and House Energy and Environment Subcommittee Chairman Edward J. Markey. This bill promises uncertain benefits in the use of renewable energy resources and will substantially increase the electric bills of people living in the southeast by 20-50%.

It is time to expose the unspoken truth: The rate increases contemplated by this Act disproportionately fall on the shoulders of minorities and people on fixed incomes living in the southeastern United States. Looking at the current economic and energy equation, African- American and Hispanic households with annual pre-tax incomes below $50,000 are forced to spend roughly 24% of their after-tax income on energy; those households with annual pre-tax incomes between $10,000 and $30,000 nearly 26%. So what does this mean?

It means that if this legislation passes, people who look like me, who grew up in the communities I grew up in, can expect to pay as much as 50% of their after-tax income on energy if ACESA passes.

This is a serious crime on the people of the South. We must demand our member of Congress stand up to protect our interests.

There must be a fair and equitable way to create new energy solutions.

Congress should start by openly addressing the following issues: (1) providing con- sumers with a thorough cost analysis of the legislation, which includes up-to-date economic and energy models, (2) making the cost impacts of the legislation transparent to consumers so that they are informed as to how much this will cost them, and (3) abandoning expensive mandates, like a renewable energy standard mandate, and letting trading programs work.

Working together, we can arrive at a number of solutions to tackle America’s energy issues, but in the process of doing so, we must make sure to take care of the people who matter most by not imposing any unfair or unduly burdensome costs on people based on the region of the country they live in.

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