Texas governor voices opposition to climate bill

AUSTIN, TEXAS - A climate bill being debated in Congress is "draconian" and would wreak havoc on the Texas economy by wiping out thousands of jobs in the energy sector, Texas Gov. Rick Perry said.

But an environmental group said the bill would be an economic boost.

Perry said Texas does not need federal mandates as the state already balances the needs of the environment and the energy sector.

"I would respectfully ask Washington if they are interested in having a positive impact on the environment, look at Texas. We can show them how to not put these sweeping mandates that have a draconian impact on the population," Perry said during a meeting in Houston with business leaders and state lawmakers.

The bill includes an economy-wide cap-and-trade system that would require power plants, industrial facilities and refineries to cut carbon dioxide and other climate changing pollution.

Perry said the bill is a massive energy tax on consumers that would result in higher prices in gasoline, utilities and household goods and wipe out between 200,000 and 300,000 energy sector jobs in Texas.

The governor said the federal government should follow Texas' example and do such things as expand its renewable energy portfolio, reduce the cost of alternative energy forms like solar and wind and promote investment in technology that captures emissions of carbon dioxide.

"We did it while still adding jobs and having the economy grow," he said.

Most Republicans like Perry have voiced strong opposition to the Waxman-Markey climate and energy bill, which the House passed in June. The Senate is working on its own version of the bill.

Democrats who support the bill acknowledged the cost of energy will increase but contend the impact on consumers can be mitigated by increased energy efficiency and other measures included in the legislation.

Environmentalists see cap-and-trade as the best way to control carbon emissions.

But Oliver Bernstein, a spokesman for environmental group Sierra Club's office in Austin, said the climate bill "is the true pathway toward economic recovery" because it will create millions of clean energy jobs in Texas and across the country.

"The worst thing we can do for the economy here in Texas is to stay devoted to the dirty energy policies of the past," he said.

The state's energy industry supplies 20 percent of the nation's oil production, one-fourth of its natural gas production, a quarter of its refining capacity and nearly 60 percent of its chemical manufacturing.


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