It’s Time to Discuss Cap and Trade

Nicolas Loris /

This week, beginning today, Waxman and Markey are holding Congressional hearings to discuss the draft of a massive energy bill that includes clean energy investment, energy efficiency mandates, a cap-and-trade program, and protectionist policies that will supposedly help the consumer cope with higher energy prices.

The logic behind the hearing process is to gather experts to help inform legislators about the impact of their efforts. This is a worthwhile and laudable goal, to be sure, but the reality is often very different. Unfortunately, the hearing process is often hijacked by agenda driven politicians more interested in advancing their special interests and self-promotion than actually shedding light on complex and important issues.

The value of a hearing (or in this case, a series of hearings) can often be extrapolated from who will be providing testimony.

The witnesses scheduled to provide testimony on the Waxman-Markey legislation largely fall into two groups. There are those in the energy business that have a financial stake in the legislation and there are those in the advocacy business that support capping carbon dioxide.