Federal Update
House passes ‘cap and trade&rsqou; legislation; next, the Senate

By Charlie Morasch
staff writer


The U.S. House of Representatives approved a controversial emissions measure in late June.

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 June 26. The bill passed by a narrow 219-212 vote and at press time was heading for another tough fight in the U.S. Senate.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association issued a Call to Action on the bill, asking its nearly 160,000 members to call their legislators and tell them to vote no on HR2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act.

Referred to sometimes as the “cap and trade” bill or Waxman-Markey Bill, HR2454 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 those credits on the open market.

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

OOIDA opposes 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 gas prices by 77 cents, and would reportedly raise diesel prices 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. LL