Murkowski on the Administration's Cost Estimate for Cap and Trade

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today released the following statement in response to the U.S. Treasury Department’s estimate that cap and trade legislation would cost American taxpayers up to $200 billion annually.

“It’s becoming apparent that the administration knew all along how much their cap and trade program would cost, yet they continue to claim it will cost no more than a postage stamp a day,” Murkowski said.

Murkowski, the ranking Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and a previous co-sponsor of climate legislation that contained strong economic protections, has urged her Senate colleagues to take a cautious approach toward cap and trade because of the difficulties associated with predicting the impacts such a program would have on the U.S. economy.

“I believe we need to do something about climate change, but I’m equally concerned about the health of the economy,” Murkowski said. “We must focus on legislation that will effectively limit costs, establish a realistic compliance curve, and encourage the rest of the world to join the effort.”

Yesterday, CBS reported that the Obama administration had privately concluded that cap and trade legislation would cost American taxpayers up to $200 billion a year, the equivalent of hiking personal income taxes by about 15 percent.

A previously unreleased analysis prepared by the U.S. Department of Treasury says the total cost would be between $100 billion and $200 billion a year. At the upper end of the administration's estimate, the cost per American household would be $1,761 a year, on top of what they already pay in taxes to the government.

A second memorandum, which was prepared for President Obama's transition team after the November election, said the economic costs of climate change legislation would likely be on the order of “1 percent of GDP, making them equal in scale to all existing environmental regulation.”

“Some have dismissed the costs of climate legislation as minimal, or surmountable, but we lawmakers must remember that we will be affected far less than many others. Those who will really feel its effects are trying to find jobs right now. They are trying to find a way to pay their bills and mortgages,” Murkowski said. “We shouldn’t pass legislation that makes it harder for Americans to get back on their feet.”

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow on the cost of a cap and trade program. The hearing will be in Senate Dirksen 366 at 2:15 p.m. The proceedings will also be webcasted on the committee’s website: http://energy.senate.gov/public/.