House passes ‘cap and trade’ legislation; next, the Senate

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line staff writer | 6/29/2009

A fast and furious day of debate on the “cap and trade” proposal was followed by a mid-evening vote by the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday, June 26. The bill passed by a narrow 219-212 vote and now heads for another tough fight in the U.S. Senate.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association issued a Call to Action Friday morning, asking its nearly 160,000 members to call their legislators and tell them to vote no on HR 2454, the American Clean Energy Security Act.

Referred to sometimes as the “cap and trade” bill or Waxman-Markey Bill, HR 2454 aims to cut the nation’s overall carbon emissions by establishing limits for several business sectors. A credit system would allow businesses that operate above limits to purchase credits and businesses with leftover credits to sell on the open market.

The bill has many other provisions in its 1,500 pages.

OOIDA and organizations such as the American Highway Users Alliance oppose the bill’s transportation provisions, saying it would create the largest ever tax increase for American drivers.

OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer pointed to Congressional Budget Office estimates that the bill would raise the price of gasoline by 77 cents, amid some reports that diesel could increase by 88 cents per gallon.

Spencer said that worse than any increase, however, is that such price increases won’t go to the nation’s Highway Trust Fund.

“Truckers should know better than most about the pitfalls of our current energy policy,” Spencer told Land Line. “We have seen unbelievable and unjustified volatility in prices, and the most predictable aspect of this proposal would be a significant price increase for diesel fuel. But the price itself doesn’t cripple us. The reality with the nation’s infrastructure is that if fuel prices for cars and trucks are going to increase by that large an amount, we think a significant amount, if not all, of that increase should be going into the Highway Trust Fund to address the severe shortages there.”

“For that money to go anywhere else is not acceptable and will never be acceptable to us,” Spencer said.

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer


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