President Obama released his budget blueprint yesterday. Titled, “The New Era of Responsibility,” the full 140-page blueprint, broken down by department, can be found here. The Environmental Protection Agency’s budget, which balloons from $7.8 billion in 2009 to $10.5 billion in 2010, includes the following paragraph:
After enactment of the Budget, the Administration will work expeditiously with key stakeholders and Congress to develop an economy-wide emissions reduction program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions approximately 14 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, and approximately 83 percent below 2005 levels by 2050. This program will be implemented through a cap-and-trade system, a policy approach that dramatically reduced acid rain at much lower costs than the traditional Government regulations and mandates of the past.
Through a 100 percent auction to ensure that the biggest polluters do not enjoy windfall profits, this program will fund vital investments in a clean energy future totaling $150 billion over 10 years, starting in fiscal year 2012.”
Heritage energy analyst Ben Lieberman points out, the fact the blueprint says “approximately 83 percent below” makes one think the administration has taken some time to think about this. Although a cap-and-trade system to reduce carbon dioxide cannot be implemented unless a Congress passes a bill or the EPA tries to regulate carbon through the backdoor under the Clean Air Act, it is clear that the wheels for this idea are well in motion. The Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Iain Murray emphasizes that this is quite contradictory to Obama’s promise of no tax hikes:
‘Not one dime,’ said President Obama in his address to Congress, referring to how much extra tax people earning under $250,000 a year will have to pay in his budget. Unfortunately, even if you don’t have to pay extra tax, you will have to pay extra fees for your energy, which are passed on to the government via energy companies. That’s the effect of the President’s cap-and-trade scheme for carbon emissions, an important part of his new budget. Energy companies will have to pay the government for permits for each ton of carbon dioxide or equivalent they emit in the generation of power. They will pass on these costs to the consumer, as has happened everywhere a cap-and-trade scheme has been tried.”