Ed Tarnowski

Video: “Forget it.” Joe Manchin Rules Out a Carbon Tax

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Posted by Mike Palicz, Ed Tarnowski on Friday, February 5th, 2021, 12:49 PM PERMALINK

Senator Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) went on record Thursday firmly stating his opposition to “any kind of” carbon tax legislation.

"Forget it," there's no viable path for a carbon tax in Congress, Manchin declared yesterday during a webinar event with the Bipartisan Policy Center when asked if there are 50 votes in the US Senate for “any kind of aggressive carbon pricing in the next couple of years.”

"They want to talk about this as a penalty? Forget it. As long as I'm here and there's 50 votes and it takes 51 to pass it,” Manchin continued. 

During the webinar, Jason Grumet, President of the Bipartisan Policy Center, recounted a prior conversation with Sen. Manchin from “7 or 8 years ago” in which he pushed Manchin to support carbon pricing. 

According to Grumet, Manchin pointed his finger in Grumet’s chest and told him “let me get this straight, you want me to go back to West Virginia and tell voters that I’m going to raise prices on a bunch of stuff, I’m going to knock a bunch of you out of jobs but trust me, the global economy is going to invent technologies? That’s not going to happen.” Sen. Manchin laughed along as Grumet retold the story.

Grumet then asked Sen. Manchin if his position has changed since their prior conversation.

“When you say the word tax, that’s a penalty. Don’t penalize me, don’t shoot me in the foot and make me tell you that you’ll like it,” Manchin replied. 

These public comments from Sen. Manchin are a strong rebuke of carbon tax legislation, coming at a time when the Biden administration is considering a proposal to push for a federal carbon tax. 

The full video of the webinar event can be found here

 

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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5 Reasons Why Biden is Wrong to Kill the Keystone XL Pipeline 

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Posted by Ed Tarnowski on Tuesday, January 26th, 2021, 11:13 AM PERMALINK

President Biden’s decision to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline will have a number of negative impacts on jobs, energy, and geopolitics. Here are five reasons why Biden’s decision to kill the Keystone XL pipeline is a terrible move. 

  1. Thousands of American jobs killed. Keystone XL estimates that stopping the project will kill 11,000 jobs in 2021. This, in the midst of post-pandemic economic recovery. More specifically, the pipeline was on track to create thousands of construction jobs for rural and Indigenous communities, many touted by the company as “family-sustaining, middle-class jobs.” President Biden often touts the importance of union jobs, yet 8,000 of those jobs lost will be union ones. 
  2. Transporting oil by pipeline is the safest, most efficient, and most environmentally friendly way of doing so. In fact, Keystone XL has committed to the pipeline being fully powered by renewable energy. Whether the pipeline project is halted or not, oil from Canada will continue to make its way over the border. Without the new pipeline, distributors will be forced to transport this oil by road and rail, methods both less safe and higher contributors of CO2 emissions. If the project were to go through, TC Energy Corporation estimates emissions level decreases equivalent to taking 650,000 cars out of commission. Ironically, President Biden cites environmental friendliness for the order anyway. 
  3. The completion of the pipeline would introduce cheaper and more competitive energy. If completed, the Keystone XL Pipeline would carry 830,000 barrels of oil from Alberta, Canada through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, where it would eventually reach Texas oil refineries. It would be a significantly faster, cheaper, and more efficient way of doing so, introducing less expensive and more competitive oil into the energy sector, giving access to cheaper energy to Americans across the nation. Stopping the project will have Americans cheated out of more disposable income. 
  4. Billions in wasted investment. Over a billion dollars of investments into the project would be for nothing, and over a billion of would-be investments will no longer happen. The reality is, there has already been a great deal of both private and public investment put into the project, and the idea of canceling it is unthinkable to public and private sector investors, and thousands of working and middle-class Americans employed and to be employed by the project. If completed, TC Energy Corporation estimates an investment of more than $1.7 billion into communities surrounding the project. That translates to $100 million in new property tax revenue and thousands of new middle-class jobs for both low and high-skilled workers. 
  5. Harms the US-Canadian relationship while empowering our adversaries. Even Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau,  a progressive environmentalist, supports the pipeline project. Alberta's government recently pledged a $1.5 billion investment into the project, speeding up its construction, on track to be turned on by 2023. The reversal of the pipeline project will poke holes in the strong trade relationship between the United States and Canada, as they will be less confident in America's word on trade agreements.  The prime minister had been in talks with President Biden and those in high positions of his administration, urging him not to cancel the project. The discontinuation of the pipeline will increase America's reliance on foreign oil, strengthening Russia and OPEC members in the middle east

 

The Keystone XL pipeline would have brought about substantial economic benefits to the American workers and consumers alike and sparked investment in various communities across the country. Americans for Tax Reform urges President Biden to reverse his executive order canceling the Keystone XL pipeline permit. 

Photo Credit: Government of Alberta


Au Revoir: US Officially Exits Paris Climate Accord

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Posted by Ed Tarnowski on Thursday, November 5th, 2020, 5:52 PM PERMALINK

President Trump fulfilled his campaign promise to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accord, as the United States officially exited the agreement yesterday – the first day it was legally able to do so.  

President Trump initially announced the decision to withdraw from the agreement in June of 2017. The Obama administration entered the US into the agreement as part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). In short, it has countries agreeing to certain emissions reduction commitments through severe environmental regulations. It disproportionately impacts the US economy while allowing the world’s largest CO2 emitters to make virtually no changes. 

The agreement puts the US at a significant competitive disadvantage on the world stage. For starters, the agreement allows China, the largest emitter of CO2 on the planet, to continue to increase or have no cap on their CO2 emissions. India, the third-largest emitter, and Russia, the fourth, are awarded the same exemption.

This, while the US would see 6.5 million American jobs killed by 2040 and a reduction in our GDP by over $2.5 trillion. China does not have to lift a finger until 2030, and even then there are few enforcement measures to maintain compliance. The reality is, the deal does little to reduce global climate emissions while doing major harm to the US economy. 

Exiting the agreement prevented sending billions of taxpayer dollars abroad without congressional approval, putting a stop to the millions of dollars already sent out under the Obama administration. American taxpayers should not be forced to finance projects in foreign nations without their voice in Congress even approving it as President Obama entered the US into this agreement unilaterally and without the necessary approval of the Senate to certify it as a treaty.  

Staying in the Paris Agreement would’ve seen rising energy costs through increased regulations, placing the U.S. at a fundamental disadvantage. The deal sought to punish American industries with burdensome regulations, threaten the employment of thousands of American energy workers, and raise the cost of energy for all Americans.  

The ultimate fate of the U.S.’s involvement in the Paris Agreement may ultimately be tied to the results of the Presidential election, as former Vice President Joe Biden has pledged to re-enter the agreement should he win the election. But, for now, the U.S. has officially withdrawn from the Paris Climate Accord. 

ATR applauds the Trump Administration for keeping its word and withdrawing from the disastrous Paris Climate Agreement.  

Photo Credit: Pixabay

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ATR Applauds Rep. Perry for Introducing the SWEET Act

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Posted by Ed Tarnowski on Thursday, July 25th, 2019, 4:00 PM PERMALINK

Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) recently introduced legislation that would lift harmful price controls on sugar products.

The Saving Workers by Eliminating Economic Tampering (SWEET) Act would repeal the Sugar Program’s protectionist subsidies that artificially raise the cost of sugar in the United States and serve as hidden taxes on American consumers.

The current U.S. sugar program is packed with price supports, import quotas and tariffs that have solely benefited the sugar industry to the detriment of consumers and taxpayers. So much so that in the United States, the average wholesale price of domestically produced sugar is roughly 2.5 times higher than the world’s average price of sugar. As a result, not only are taxpayer dollars subsidizing the sugar industry, but American consumers are being forced to pay higher prices for sugar-based products. 

The downstream effects of the sugar program are a damaging force on the U.S. economy. Roughly $3 billion in costs are shifted to manufacturers in the form of a hidden sugar tax annually, forcing consumers to pay more for food. Since the price of sugar has become artificially higher in the U.S., many manufactures have moved their operations outside of the country in order to pay the cheaper, market value for sugar.  This has inevitably led to a loss of nearly 10,000 jobs per year.

The Sugar Program’s crony capitalist policies have been put in place to benefit the sugar industry and have greatly hurt American consumers, workers, businesses, and manufacturers.

The SWEET Act would spur competition, save American jobs, and lower the price of sugar-based food products for consumers.

ATR applauds Rep. Perry for introducing the SWEET Act and for his continued efforts to create a freer, stronger economy.

Photo Credit: U.S. Customs and Border

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5 Reasons to Oppose Hiking the Passenger Facility Charge

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Posted by Ed Tarnowski on Tuesday, July 9th, 2019, 3:23 PM PERMALINK

Every time you fly, you are charged a Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) of $4.50 per flight segment, capped at $18.50 for round trip flights. The PFC was created in 1990 as a supplementary funding source to grants issued to airports from the Airport Improvement Program. Congress placed a cap on the PFC to protect air passengers from runaway fees imposed by government-run airports who already receive taxpayer funding in the form of AIP grants. 

However, there has been a sustained effort led by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, to skirt the guardrails Congress put in place and raise the PFC to $8.50 per enplanement, a 90% PFC hike. 

Here are five reasons why this is a bad idea. 

  1. Government taxes and fees already account for more than 20% of the price of a typical domestic flight, as stated by Airlines for America. Congress should be working to reduce the tax burden placed upon the flying public, not adding to it. 

  2. A measly 9.1% of funds collected from the PFC are used towards airside improvements such as runways, navigation aids, lighting, and other airside safety projects.  While a whopping 30.9% of the funds go towards paying off interest on bond financing. According to a report from the Congressional Research Service, “Increasing the PFC would do little to improve airport and flight safety, as only a fraction of the revenue goes towards such projects.”   

  3. According to the International Air Transport Association, a hiked PFC could reduce US GDP by $5.1 billion and kill over 52,000 jobs. 

“The decrease in passenger traffic due to the increased cost of flying would force the elimination of these jobs and inevitably take a major toll on America’s GDP.” 

  1. Airports already have plenty of revenue made available. Without raising the PFC cap, revenue generated from the PFC has steadily risen, even doubling since 2001. Since 2000, airport revenues have outpaced inflation and grown by 47%. US airports ended 2017 with a record $14.5 billion in unrestricted cash and investments. The idea that the flying public needs to cough up more money is unjustified. 

  2. Raising the PFC would slow passenger growth. A 2015 report from the Government Accountability Office found that a PFC cap increase could actually “reduce total AATF (Airport and Airway Trust Fund) revenues” due to reduced passenger demand.  

Photo Credit: Willy Vermaelen

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ATR Applauds Rep. Kevin Hern for Amendment Prohibiting a Carbon Tax

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Posted by Ed Tarnowski on Thursday, June 13th, 2019, 11:19 AM PERMALINK

Rep. Kevin Hern (R-OK) has offered an amendment to an upcoming spending package that would block any funds in the bill from being used towards implementing a carbon tax.

ATR applauds Rep. Hern’s leadership and willingness to protect taxpayers from a new tax on energy that would raise the cost of energy bills for all Americans, increase the cost of gasoline and drastically expand the size of government.

Rep. Hern’s amendment states clearly, “no funds from this bill may be used to aid in the collection of Carbon Tax revenues.”

Earlier this week a coalition of over 75 conservative organizations and leaders released a letter in opposition to ANY carbon tax. In the letter, the signing organizations stated, “A carbon tax increases the cost of everything Americans buy and lowers Americans’ effective take home pay. A carbon tax increases the power, cost, and intrusiveness of the government in our lives.”  

ATR thanks Rep. Hern for his commitment to protecting American taxpayers from a carbon tax. ATR strongly urges House leadership to allow a vote on the Hern amendment and supports its adoption in the final spending package. 

 All voters have a right to know where their lawmakers stand on this issue. 

Photo Credit: Oklahoma Farm Bureau

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Trump EPA introduces plan to improve transparency and cost-benefit analysis

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Posted by Ed Tarnowski on Wednesday, May 29th, 2019, 11:31 AM PERMALINK

ATR applauds Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s new plan to improve cost-benefit analysis and transparency in the regulatory process.

In a recently released memo, Administrator Wheeler outlined four key principles for the EPA to use as guidance in developing regulatory proposals moving forward:

Performing cost-benefit analysis - Assuring that both the benefits and costs are weighed in determinations surrounding regulatory decisions by ensuring that that Agency considers whether or not the benefits of a proposed regulation outweigh the costs.

Consistency in interpretation across EPA offices – EPA should evaluate benefits and costs in a consistent application of terminology. The memo uses the specific examples of ensuring the terms “practical,” “appropriate,” “reasonable” and “feasible” have the same interpretation in all EPA offices.

Increased transparency of analysis - Offering transparency to the public in how conclusions are reached regarding regulatory decisions by stating what was and was not considered throughout the analysis.

Adhering to best practices – Offices must follow best practices in analyzing costs and benefits, follow existing guidance and adhere to peer-reviewed standards.

These principles reinforce the belief that regulatory agencies should only look to regulate when the benefits outweigh the costs. This memo promotes the Trump agenda and is in line with President Trump’s Executive Order 13777, "Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda," which directs agencies to identify regulations that impose costs that exceed benefits.

The Wheeler memo goes on to instruct the Office of AIR and Radiation to be the first office to issue a proposal implementing these principles later this year, with other offices to follow.

Earlier this year, ATR led a conservative coalition urging President Trump to consider an executive order requiring full transparency of all scientific data used to justify new or pending federal regulations. This action taken by Administrator Wheeler helps achieve the goal of transparency and ATR applauds him for his leadership on the issue.

Photo Credit: Maine Public Broadcasting

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