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Consultant: Bill would hammer Okla. economy

Consultant: Bill would hammer Okla. economy

September 29, 2009

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma economy would be devastated should the American Clean Energy and Security Act become law, a Washington, D.C., consultant claimed Sunday.

Speaking at the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association’s fall conference, Andrew Wheeler, senior vice president of B and D Consulting, said the measure, also known as the Waxman-Markey energy-climate bill, would reduce jobs in the Sooner State and could push gas prices beyond the $5-per-gallon level over the next two decades.

“The biggest crime that President Obama, Speaker Pelosi and Congressman Waxman are getting away with is when they say this bill will make the U.S. more energy-independent,” Wheeler said. “It won’t.”

Citing a study from the National Association of Manufacturers, Wheeler said the bill would hammer the Oklahoma economy.

He said the measure would have a negative effect in Oklahoma by reducing household income by more than $490 by 2030; increasing gas prices by 6 to 9 percent by 2015; increasing gas prices by 20 to 26 percent by 2030; and causing a decline in the state’s gross domestic product of $340 million to $584 million.

Wheeler, a former staff member for Republican U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, said the measure would force U.S. gas prices to $5.60 per gallon.

“The U.S. refining capacity also would decrease by 3 million barrels,” he said.

He said the measure wouldn’t reduce global warming but was instead designed to cause a shift in the energy market.

“This is a concentrated effort, most at the coal and oil and gas industry,” he said. “They are trying to get the cost of fossil fuels higher than renewables.”

The bill’s author, U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., disagreed.

“This bill, when enacted into law will this year, will break our dependence on foreign oil, make our nation the world leader in clean-energy jobs and technology, and cut global warming pollution,” Waxman said in a media statement.

Waxman, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, denied the measure would harm the economy. He said the bill would create millions of new clean-energy jobs, save consumers hundreds of billions of dollars in energy costs and enhance America’s energy independence.

Wheeler said Sunday that he “doubted the bill would become law anytime soon,” and urged representatives of the state’s oil and gas industry to continue lobbying lawmakers.

“I don’t think that climate-change legislation is going to happen this year,” he said. “I don’t think the bill will become law. But I think that the oil and gas industry needs to continue to educate Congress.”

Chamber opposes bill

 OKLAHOMA CITY – Like their oil industry counterparts, other Oklahoma business leaders have announced their opposition to the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009.

In a media release, officials with The State Chamber claimed the measure would have a negative effect on the state’s economy. Chamber officials cited a study mentioned by Andrew Wheeler, a vice president with B and D Consulting. Wheeler discussed the study at the OIPA’s fall conference in Oklahoma City. The study was conducted by Science Applications International Corp., using input assumptions by the National Association of Manufacturers and the American Council for Capital Formation.

“Oklahomans losing their job would cut back spending, causing other sectors to shrink, which would create a tragic domino effect on our job market,” said Ronn Cupp, The State Chamber’s senior vice president of government affairs. “Those fortunate enough to keep their jobs would put more money into simply paying their energy bills. This study confirms that the Waxman-Markey bill will have a negative impact on Oklahoma’s economy as well as the rest of the nation.”

By 2030, Cupp said, Oklahoma would lose more than 20,000 jobs and disposable household income would decrease by $490 to $883.

The Waxman-Markey bill aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and cap the amount of carbon emitted in the United States by mandating a cap-and-trade program and other provisions controlling fuel choices available to businesses and consumers. The bill was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives this summer. The Senate is working on its version of the bill.   –M. Scott Carter

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