The habitability of our planet is threatened by fossil-fueled politicians who can’t tell the difference between pollution and energy. After a White House meeting on energy reform this morning, Republican senators rejected President Obama’s call for a price on carbon pollution, repeating the Newt Gingrich lie that it would be a “national energy tax”:
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN): “As long as we take a national energy tax off the table, there’s no reason we can’t have clean energy legislation.”
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK): “A cap-and-trade energy tax will not sell at this time. We’ve got to find a path that does not put an added burden on American taxpayers.”
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who refused to attend the meeting: “I wish the president would focus his attention on stopping the spill and cleaning it up instead of trying to use this crisis as an opportunity to push for a new national energy tax.”
These senators know they’re lying when they equate greenhouse gas pollution with “energy.” Their states are being ravaged by our overheated climate system, including the freak flooding of Nashville and Kentucky and the melting of Alaska’s tundra.
Murkowski is being especially disingenuous about finding a “path that does not put an added burden on American taxpayers.” Right now, American taxpayers are paying the costs of fossil fuel pollution — the destruction of our health, our oceans, and our climate — while corporate polluters like oil disaster giant BP rake in the profits.
Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) stumbled in her statement following the meeting, attempting to reconcile her record in support for climate action with obeisance to right-wing talking points. “I’ve long asserted that placing a price on carbon will send the appropriate signals to entrepreneurs that would unleash the innovation to position America as a global clean energy industry leader,” she said, but “we cannot afford economy-wide approaches to carbon reduction.” NRDC’s Dan Lashof found the silver lining in Snowe’s half-hearted call to “more narrowly target a carbon pricing program through a uniform nationwide system solely on the power sector.”