Ten Senate Democrats recently expressed their concern over cap and trade legislation that would dramatically increase energy prices and particularly hurt the country’s manufacturing base. In a letter sent to the White House, Senators from Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Minnesota and West Virginia wrote:

As Congress considers energy and climate legislation, it is important that such a bill include provisions to maintain a level playing field for American manufacturing. Manufacturing accounts for more than 10 percent of our economy and nearly three-fourths of the nation’s industrial research and development. Manufacturing jobs also pay 20 percent more on average than service jobs and have a strong multiplier effect.

Therefore it is essential that any clean energy legislation not only address the crisis of climate change, but include strong provisions to ensure the strength and viability of domestic manufacturing. Further, any climate change legislation must prevent the export of jobs and related greenhouse gas emissions to countries that fail to take actions to combat the threat of global warming comparable to those taken by the United States.”

Echoing The Heritage Foundation’s sentiments, Former Virginia Governor George Allen offers his comments on the Democrats’ letter:

“Faced with a choice between representing the interests of their party in Washington, and those of their constituents back home in their States, these ten Senators demonstrated real leadership this week in telling President Obama the truth about cap-and-trade. Cap and Trade is an energy tax on Americans that will clearly harm all the people our country, especially in Southern, Midwestern and Mountain West States.”

To protect the manufacturing-intense states, the Senators suggested protectionist tariffs to “level the playing field.” As if the economic perils of cap and trade weren’t bad enough, adding a tariff to carbon-intense imports will make them worse–not only for the United States, by making goods we buy from other countries more expensive, but also for developing countries relying on trade to better their own economies. Governor Allen goes on to say:

Unfortunately, while properly diagnosing the adverse effects of this job-killing scheme, these senators failed to draw the right conclusions on what needs to be done to avoid them. Rather than try to mitigate the damage to America with these tariffs, the better course would be to advance positive, constructive use of America resources for generating affordable, reliable electricity and access to our plentiful coal, oil and natural gas reserves. Common sense alternatives of supplemental waste-to-energy, nanotech-enhanced battery and materials technology, solar photovoltaics, and practical conservation can all be part of the solutions for achieving strategic America energy freedom while keeping the U.S. competitive in the international marketplace.”

Take a look at the The Heritage Foundation’s Manufacturing Vulnerability Index, which measures a state’s direct and immediate vulnerability to an energy tax based on the extent of the state’s manufacturing workforce and its reliance on coal power generation. It’s no surprise the letter came from representatives of the above-mentioned states.


As Governor Allen said, we should be working to expand energy supply rather than to unnecessarily restrict it. And you can help. Go to FreeOurEnergy.com and make your voice heard.