By Terry Ganey, Columbia daily Tribune
CENTRALIA — Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer doubts that human activity is causing global warming and opposes a bill approved this month by the House Energy and Commerce Committee that would cut pollution by limiting heat-trapping emissions. Luetkemeyer, a Republican from St. Elizabeth, told two dozen Kiwanis Club members yesterday that a carbon tax that would be imposed as part of the bill would cost an average Missouri family about $4,000 a year. He based his calculation on the fact that coal-fired power plants produce about 85 percent of the energy consumed in Missouri, and he said utility executives had told him rates will increase by 50 percent to 150 percent per year.Republicans have been saying the bill will cost $3,928 per household, using numbers generated by Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor John Reilly. The computation, which is in dispute, takes into account all factors in which energy costs would affect lifestyles and livelihoods. “It’s a huge, huge tax on everybody,” the Ninth District congressman said. “This tax affects everybody, especially the poor and people on fixed incomes.”Keven Kennedy, spokesman for Repower America-Alliance for Climate Protection, said Reilly disputes the way Republicans have used his figures and has written a letter to the House Republican leadership saying the figure was “totally mischaracterized.” Kennedy said Republicans were using fear tactics.“This package considered by Congress will have a direct effect on the creation of 43,000 new jobs in Missouri,” Kennedy said.The American Clean Energy and Security Act would establish a “cap-and-trade” emissions market, promote energy efficiency in homes and businesses and encourage energy independence. Luetkemeyer said there is no need for it.
That “human emissions of carbon are causing our climate to change has been proven very doubtful at the most by the sound science that’s being promoted at the present time,” Luetkemeyer said in an interview. “So therefore the whole basis of this cap-and-trade policy is based on bad science and incorrect assumptions. So as a result, I see that we are headed down a path that we don’t need to go down.”
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