Cap and Trade Calamities

As you read this, the Environmental Protection Agency is modeling the economic impacts of a semi-draft form of the Boxer-Kerry cap and trade legislation. “Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer said a bill EPA is analyzing should be marked up in her panel by the second week in November. An EPA official said the agency has pledged to deliver the cost analysis Friday, in time for a three-day set of hearings starting Oct. 27.”

We’d do it too. But we can’t. According to Congressional Quarterly, the senators “produced a ‘semi-final draft’ of the legislation — including the critical formula for distributing billions of dollars’ worth of pollution credits to different industries and interest groups.” But that draft is unavailable to the public. It has only been given to the EPA to model the economic impacts.

President Obama, in his memorandum for the heads of executive departments and agencies, wrote that “Government should be transparent. Transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their Government is doing. Information maintained by the Federal Government is a national asset. My Administration will take appropriate action, consistent with law and policy, to disclose information rapidly in forms that the public can readily find and use.”

Bill Beach, the director of The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis, wrote a letter to Senator Boxer (CCing Senator Kerry, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and Senator Inhofe) asking for a copy of the semi-draft legislation to model the economic effects of the bill.

Charles River Associates (commissioned by National Black Chamber of Commerce), The American Council for Capital Formation (commissioned by National Association of Manufacturers) The Brookings Institution, the Energy Information Administration, the Congressional Budget Office, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Political Economy Research Institute and The Heritage Foundation all produced economic analyses of the Waxman-Markey House cap and trade bill, but only the EPA has the semi-draft legislation of the Boxer-Kerry version.

For the sake of transparency, we’d like the EPA or Senator Boxer to publicly release the most recent version of the Boxer-Kerry cap and trade bill that includes the all-important allocation of billions of dollars of allowances. Clearly the more details we have about the bill, the better economic analysis we can provide in a timely manner for Members of Congress and for the general public.