Published in Saturday's Nashville Tennessean
By State Representative Susan Lynn, 57th District
TennesseeThe Waxman-Markey legislation has received a lot of attention for its Cap & Trade scheme; its been passed by the US House of Representatives and is currently being considered by the US Senate. Yet little has been made of something called LCFS or Low-Carbon Fuel Standards which would fundamentally alter the way in which Americans acquire, process and consume energy.
The New York Times reported that LCFS could be “extremely costly.”
A group of professors from California and North Carolina said the plan “cannot be efficient.”
And a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations said it “would exacerbate energy security problems without delivering compensating climate benefits.”
Unfortunately for Tennessee, our senior senator seems to be supportive of talk for a future Public Act requiring LCFS in the United States Code.Advocates claim that LCFS policy is a pain-free way to clean up our transportation sector while cutting down on tailpipe emissions of carbon dioxide.
Pain free? The laws of natural science and political science suggest otherwise. Despite Congress’s best efforts, the carbon content of the fuel in our gas tank is constant – emitting 19.4 pounds of carbon dioxide no matter where you get the gas, what kind of vehicle you put it in, or even which number octane you choose.
Yet to LCFS proponents, everybody wins – that is assuming you don’t drive a car, heat a home, or need a job.
The scheme attempts to take a bite out of global greenhouse gas emissions by having the federal government assign a carbon score to various fuel supplies based on the amount of energy it takes to bring those fuels through each stage of its production process – from finding the oil, to acquiring it, to transporting it, to refining it, and finally to using it in our vehicles in the form of gasoline or diesel.
As mentioned, since all fuels emit the same amount of carbon dioxide during combustion, what LCFS is really addressing is those fuels that are more energy intensive to bring to market.
Eliminate from circulation the reliable, affordable, fuels from friendly sources that dominate the market -- like the 2.5 million barrels of Canadian crude we import a day, and much of California’s and Colorado’s oil -- and we can clear the path for less affordable and less politically friendly forms of energy to have a stronger footing in our marketplace.
The scheme would initiate a de facto ban on North American oil purchases – crude oil from Canada, Mexico and much of the mid-Atlantic that policymakers in Washington find too “heavy” for their discriminating tastes.
Why aren’t LCFS advocates tripping over themselves to let you in on exactly who produces the “light, sweet” crude oil they desire? Maybe it’s because the answer is the Middle East, Africa, and just about every unstable, dictatorial regime in between.
Show of hands: Who prefers oil from Canada – our most important trading partner – over supplies controlled by OPEC?
Discriminating against North American energy would not only weaken our economic position in the global economy but it also would be a major blow to our national security.
So, what would a successful LCFS deliver? Increased American dependence on foreign oil. Check. More good-paying American jobs sent overseas. Check. Higher energy costs for every consumer. Check. And, since the “heavy” oil we reject will be gobbled up by our chief global competitors in India and China, higher worldwide carbon emissions to boot. Checkmate.
Let’s speak-up and let’em know we don't like any explanation of this one.
Start Representative Susan Lynn is the Chairman of the Government Operations Committee in the state of Tennessee House of Representatives; she is in her fourth term. She is the Chairman of the Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Task Force for the American Legislative Exchange Council; an organization of 2000 conservative, free market legislators from across the nation (alec.org).