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Free Market Coalition to Congress:  Don’t Extend the Federal Electric Vehicle Tax Credit

WASHINGTON – This morning, a coalition of 30 free market policy groups, led by the American Energy Alliance, sent a letter to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady objecting to any expansion of the federal electric vehicle tax credit.

The letter encourages Chairman Brady to reject attempts by the EV lobby and their allies in Congress to slip a tax-credit cap increase into upcoming spending packages. Congress has a responsibility to spare American taxpayers increased economic harm from a subsidy that benefits only those who can afford expensive electric vehicles.

American Energy Alliance President Thomas J. Pyle made the following statement:

“The electric vehicle tax credit subsidizes expensive vehicles that only a fraction of wealthy Americans want and that do not necessarily pollute less than modern internal combustion engines.

“Why should a typical middle class American family — with a median annual income of $44,000 —  subsidize the lifestyles of the rich and famous? Political leaders should recognize that Americans can make their own decisions about how to spend their money and what cars they want to drive. We shouldn’t give handouts to wealthy individuals to help defray the cost of their luxury vehicles.”

The letter was signed by the following organizations who share AEA’s wariness of the irresponsibility of extending this massive government handout:

American Energy Alliance | ALEC Action | American Commitment | American Conservative Union | American Consumer Institute | American Legislative Exchange Council | Americans for Limited Government | Americans for Prosperity | Americans for Tax Reform | Caesar Rodney Institute | Center for Freedom and Prosperity | Civitas Institute | Competitive Enterprise Institute | Consumers Action for a Strong Economy | Council for Citizens Against Government Waste | E&E Legal Institute | Freedom Foundation for Minnesota | FreedomWorks | Frontiers of Freedom | Georgia Public Policy Foundation | Heartland Institute | Heritage Action | Hispanic Leadership Fund | Independence Institute | Less Government | Mississippi Center for Public Policy | National Black Chamber of Commerce | National Tax-Limitation Committee | Rio Grande Foundation| Taxpayers Protection Alliance

The full letter can be read here.

For more about electric vehicles, click here, here, and here.

Release: AEA Applauds Trump Administration For New Waste Prevention Rule

WASHINGTON – Today, the Department of the Interior announced its final rule reforming methane regulations by revising the 2016 Waste Prevention Rule (also known as the Venting and Flaring Rule). American Energy Alliance President Thomas J. Pyle issued the following statement:

“We are pleased to see the Trump administration taking an opportunity to reduce the burden of another costly and unnecessary regulation that threatens to derail efforts to achieve U.S. energy dominance. The BLM has no authority over regulation of air emissions, which is more properly a function of the state governments as specified by the Clean Air Act. Not only that, but the energy sector is already significantly reducing methane emissions without this top-down directive from the federal government, in part, because methane itself is a valuable resource that producers have incentive to capture and sell.

“Had the Trump administration not undone this costly regulation, the cost of complying with this regulation would ultimately fall on the shoulders of the American people. Today’s reform will save millions in regulatory costs annually and is another example of President Trump’s truce in President Obama’s ongoing war on affordable energy.”

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For media inquiries, please contact Erin Amsberry
[email protected]

AEA Launches Anti-Carbon Tax Digital Advocacy Initiative

Urges Floridians to Reject the “Curbelo Carbon Tax”

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The American Energy Alliance (AEA) has launched the first phase of a sustained anti-carbon tax initiative educating and encouraging citizens to hold their elected officials accountable for their support for destructive energy taxes. The initiative will target various congressional districts across the country, beginning with Florida’s 26th congressional district, represented by Congressman Carlos Curbelo. Curbelo is the sponsor of carbon tax legislation that would greatly increase energy prices across the board — including gasoline and utility bills.

AEA President Thomas J. Pyle made the following statement:

“By introducing H.R. 6463, Representative Carlos Curbelo has chosen to lend his name to a policy that would tax American families and small businesses, undermine our economic recovery, and increase government spending, while doing virtually nothing to improve the environment.

Florida families deserve to know whether their elected representatives are willing to reject a new tax on the energy they rely on every single day. Unfortunately, Representative Curbelo is doing just the opposite. In fact, with the authorship of the Curbelo Carbon Tax, he is leading an effort to tax our energy and hand the levers of our economy to the EPA and a newly-created ‘National Climate Commission.’

There is no such thing as a ‘conservative’ carbon tax. As Congress has recently professed, a carbon tax would be detrimental to the U.S. economy and any efforts towards implementing one should be rejected.”

The $75,000 digital ad buy will run for two weeks.

For more on the Curbelo Carbon Tax click here, here, and here.

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For media inquiries, please contact Erin Amsberry
[email protected]

AEA Applauds Reform of Costly, Unsafe Federal Fuel Mandates

WASHINGTON — The American Energy Alliance (AEA) commends the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency for righting a wrong of the previous Administration by proposing to keep the 2020 federal fuel mandate levels in place as part of the federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) program and for suggesting to eliminate California’s unprecedented and legally questionable waiver to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles and trucks.

As demonstrated in our recent coalition letter, there is a broad consensus that fuel economy reform is needed. We are grateful that the Administration has – through their proposed rule – taken meaningful steps to reduce the burden and irrationality of this outdated and unnecessarily complicated mandate. The proposed rule addresses a number of problems:

  • The proposed rule elevates and ensures the primacy of consumer choice over bureaucratic dictates. Automakers now design vehicles to meet the preferences of bureaucrats rather than the preferences of consumers, the proposed rule takes steps toward changing that.
  • The proposed rule establishes and confirms true federalism by removing California’s ability to dictate to consumers in other States what kinds of cars they should buy. No State should have the ability to dictate what kinds of cars citizens of other States can or should own.
  • The proposed rule is a welcome acknowledgment that the world has changed since 1975.  We now live in an era of energy abundance. The mandate is a relic of a bygone era based on the notion that oil is becoming scarce and needs to be rationed by government action.
  • The proposed rule minimizes the costs to consumers imposed by the current mandate. The technical assessments (initially created by the Obama Administration) indicate the mandate, left undisturbed, will raise the average price of a vehicle by at least $3,000 and consequently price some consumers entirely out of the new car market.

Thomas J Pyle, President of AEA made the following statement:

“What started as a mandate in the mid-1970’s to reduce foreign imports of oil morphed into a costly and unworkable environmental regulation thanks to bureaucrats in the previous Administration and in Sacramento. President Trump should be commended for standing up for American consumers by reducing the regulatory burden placed unnecessarily on automakers.

“The fundamental question associated with this mandate is clear: who should decide what types of cars consumers should buy, consumers themselves or bureaucrats in Sacramento or Washington? We think that answer is clear, and, consequently, welcome the Administration’s action.”

 

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For media inquiries, please contact Erin Amsberry
[email protected]

Curbelo Carbon Tax Misses the Mark

For the first time this decade, a Republican Member of Congress has introduced carbon-pricing legislation on Capitol Hill. On Monday, July 23, Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Florida’s 26th Congressional District filed the inaptly named MARKET CHOICE Act, with Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-8) and Francis Rooney (R-FL-19) as co-sponsors. Some details of the bill:

  • Beginning in 2020, the bill would place a fee of $24 on the production of fossil fuels for each ton of carbon dioxide equivalent that would be released upon the combustion of said fuels, with the point of taxation being oil refineries, gas processing plants, and the mouths of coal mines. Also targeted would be industrial facilities in more than a dozen sectors.
  • The tax would rise by 2 percent a year, adjusted for inflation, until 2030. It would also be subject to further adjustment upward if it fails to reach its emissions reductions goals.
  • 70 percent of the proceeds would go to the Highway Trust Fund.
  • 10 percent of the proceeds would go to states in the form of grants for low-income households.
  • 5 percent would be directed to chronic coastal flooding mitigation and adaptation projects.
  • The remaining revenue would go toward various R&D efforts and assistance to displaced energy workers. See endnote.
  • Not insignificantly, on this plan the carbon tax would replace the federal gasoline tax.

According to Congressman Curbelo, the plan “marr(ies) two very popular and important concepts: infrastructure investment and reducing carbon two emissions (sic) to mitigate against climate change, bring those two together and you get a good bill that can provide certainty for the future and relief for so many Americans who are stuck in traffic congestion in my community and all over the country.”

But this approach goes awry in several ways.

Inescapable Economic Harm

The most obvious way is that by driving up the price of reliable and erstwhile affordable energy the MARKET CHOICE Act would increase prices across the economy, and strain people’s budgets. With cost increases would come downsizing and layoffs in energy-intensive industries. Virtually no significant sector of our economy would go unscathed since this tax would impact the electricity and transportation sectors that are so central to commerce.

According to Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy—which views carbon pricing favorably and partnered with Congressman Curbelo for the bill’s roll out event at the National Press Club prior to its filing—the MARKET CHOICE Act would result in measurable economic harm to the United States over the course of the next ten years. Columbia’s analysis shows that by 2030 if the tax is implemented:

  • Natural gas production will be 5–8 percent lower.
  • Gasoline prices, despite the removal of the federal gasoline tax, will increase by nearly a dime a gallon.
  • Average electricity prices will be as much as 10 percent higher.
  • Per capita energy expenditures will increase by $186–$278.
  • And economic growth will slow, bringing down GDP by about two-tenths of a percent.

To reiterate, these damning figures are the result of the analysis of the pro-carbon tax Columbia Center on Global Energy Policy. Given that it would come at such a clear cost to the economic wellbeing of Americans, we would hope that the bill would convey benefits that are just as clear. But this is not the case.

Emissions Reductions Only Go So Far

One simple reason that the bill, even on its own terms, would not deliver is that the United States already contributes an ever-smaller percentage on the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. The United States currently produces 15 percent of global emissions and has now decreased its volume of emissions each of the past three years—while China and India have continued to increase theirs. The United States’ emissions totals are less significant globally as each year passes—so a carbon tax would make little direct difference.

According to Columbia’s analysis:

“The Curbelo proposal drives US economy-wide net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions down to 27–32 percent below 2005 levels by 2025 and 30–40 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 (figure 1). The range reflects technological uncertainty. The bill represents a departure from current policy, in which emissions are between 18 and 22 percent below 2005 levels in 2025 and 19–26 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.”

In other words, while costing each American hundreds of dollars each year the proposed carbon tax would reduce our emissions by only an additional 10 percent from the current trajectory. When looked at in the global context mentioned above, we see how trivial this would indeed be. Again, because the United States contributes a portion of emissions that could soon be just 10 percent of the world’s total, a tax-induced reduction of U.S. emissions would reduce global temperatures by an utterly negligible amount.

Of course, the more sophisticated argument for the carbon tax, rather than direct warming mitigation as suggested by Rep. Curbelo, is that a tax would incentivize the development of low- and zero-emission technology. But as Manhattan Institute fellow Oren Cass has argued, the cause-and-effect relationship between taxation and technological innovation is rather turbid.

What About the Roads?

To put a final nail in the bill’s coffin, the 70 percent of apportioned revenue put toward the Highway Trust Fund represents a gross detour from market highway theory. Instead of upholding gasoline purchases as a proxy for road usage—as the current gasoline tax does—this bill would uphold carbon intensity. But the error remains: the best way to fund infrastructure improvements is to charge those who stand to benefit directly, through tolls set by supply and demand, not by taxing energy use. Despite the repeal of the federal gasoline tax, this plan would still drive up prices at the pump and not adequately account for road usage.

Conclusion

Rep. Carlos Curbelo’s Market Choice Act would harm Americans with only the most nebulous justification while also introducing potentially wasteful federal spending. This bill, with its high economic costs and minuscule benefits, does not represent evidence-based policy and Congress should summarily reject it.

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1  There is some uncertainty among AEA staff regarding the meaning of the bill’s text on this point. Though communications from Congressman Curbelo’s office have indicated the above spending break down, a direct reading of the bill suggests that only 75 percent of the revenue would be spend as indicated, with the remaining quarter unaccounted for. Title II of the MARKET CHOICE Act reads: “There is hereby created in the Treasury of the United States a trust fund to be known as the ‘Rebuilding Infrastructure and Solutions for the Environment Trust Fund’ (hereafter in this Act referred to as the ‘RISE Trust Fund’), consisting of amounts paid into the Treasury pursuant to subtitle L of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (as added by title I of this Act), and 75 percent of such amounts are hereby appropriated and transferred to the RISE Trust Fund.” This would suggest that the apportionment figures listed are to be drawn from only three-quarters of the revenue, with the spending of the remaining quarter of revenue left to the discretion of Congress.

 

AEA Comments on Crucial House Vote Condemning a Carbon Tax

WASHINGTON – The American Energy Alliance (AEA) is pleased that the House chose to bring H.Con.Res.119 before the House of Representatives for voters to take note of their elected representative’s willingness to reject a new tax on the energy they rely on every single day. Encouragingly, the majority of the House agreed that a carbon tax is not in our national interest as shown by the 229-to-180 vote in favor of the resolution.

AEA President Thomas J Pyle made the following statement:

“Congress has now had several opportunities to go on record in opposition to a carbon tax, and the American Energy Alliance has been watching closely to see where elected officials stand on the issue. When members of Congress refuse to protect taxpayers from energy and tax policies that will harm American families and small businesses, they deserve to hear from their constituents.

“We were disappointed in the votes of the six Republicans who voted against the resolution including Reps. Carlos Curbelo (Fla.), Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.), Trey Hollingsworth (Ind.), Mia Love (Utah), Francis Rooney (Fla.), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Fla.), and additionally, Rep. Costello (Pa.) for merely voting ‘present’. Several of these individuals (Curbelo, Ros-Leitnen, and Costello) voted in favor of the same measure in 2016. These representatives will no doubt have to answer to their constituents for their vote.

“Additionally, we applaud the seven Democrats who broke with their caucus to vote YES on the resolution, as well as the many Republican members of the Climate Solutions Caucus who voted in favor, despite their participation in the CSC.

“As future carbon tax legislation is brought to Congress, we encourage legislators to put American consumers first and say ‘no’ to another tax on energy.”

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For media inquiries, please contact Erin Amsberry

[email protected]

Key Votes on Amendments to H.R. 6147

In consideration of H.R. 6147 Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2019, the American Energy Alliance has identified the below amendments to Division A as key votes.

YES on Amendment #138 (renumbered to #43 in the rule) offered by Rep. Mullin et al. This amendment seeks to prohibit the implementation of the previous administration’s methane rule. The methane rule was designed and intended as a tool to strangle energy production on federal lands. The rule is unnecessary, given that methane emissions have been falling in recent years even as natural gas production has increased rapidly. Oil and gas producers already have an economic incentive to capture methane as it is a versatile product in its own right. This unjustified rule should be stopped.

YES on Amendment #139 (renumbered to #44 in the rule) offered by Rep. Mullin et al. This amendment seeks to eliminate the use of the so-called social cost of carbon. The social cost of carbon calculation is entirely notional and cannot be justified on scientific or economic grounds. During the creation process, the social cost of carbon models and calculations were manipulated to reach a desired end goal. The social cost of carbon designed by the previous administration should be discarded.

YES on Amendment #143 (renumbered to #56 in the rule) offered by Rep. Grothman. This amendment would prevent implementation of the 2015 ground level ozone rule. The EPA decision to tighten ozone standards was regulatory excess. While the new administration is working to review the rule, prohibiting funding for the rule will ensure that it is not revived through litigation.

NO on Amendment #25 (renumbered to #41 in the rule) offered by Rep. Beyer et al. This amendment seeks to remove the bill language protecting Americans from the overreaching Obama administration “waters of the United States” definition. That WOTUS definition was an attempt to usurp state authority to regulate water sources.  While the EPA is now working through the process of repealing and replacing the rule with a definition that more accurately reflects the intent of Congress, the American people need to be protected from the previous definition being revived through litigation.

AEA urges all members to support free markets and affordable energy by voting YES on Amendments #138, #139, and #143 and NO on Amendment #25.  Should a vote on any of these amendments occur, AEA will include each in its American Energy Scorecard.

Free-Market Coalition Encourages Fuel Economy Reform

WASHINGTON – This morning the American Energy Alliance and 14 co-signing organizations sent a letter to Deputy Administrator King of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in support of NHTSA’s issuance of a notice of proposed rule making (NPRM) for model year 2022-2025 Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for light-duty vehicles. Reconsidering these mandates will allow NHTSA and the EPA to better determine whether those regulations represent what’s best for all stakeholders involved – including the millions of American families whose vehicle purchasing options will be determined by CAFE regulations.

American Energy Alliance President, Thomas J. Pyle, made the following statement:

“Whatever the initial logic of the program, recent years have shown the CAFE mandate to be an anachronism. The U.S. is awash in oil, producing more than ever before in our history, and notwithstanding political turmoil in certain countries, there is no prospect of the world market running out of oil. Reconsidering the regulations for model year 2022-2025 vehicles is a start for NHTSA and the EPA to reevaluate the efficacy of the CAFE mandate as a whole. Substantive reform of the CAFE program would result in lower costs and more consumer choice for American families. We support all efforts towards this goal.”

The text of the letter can be read here.

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For media inquiries, please contact Erin Amsberry
[email protected]
202.621.2955

AEA Applauds President Trump on the Nomination of Judge Kavanaugh

WASHINGTON — The American Energy Alliance (AEA) commends President Trump on his nomination of Judge Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. AEA President Thomas J. Pyle, made the following statement:

“President Trump has made another outstanding decision in nominating Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. As a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, a primary venue for litigation against the administrative state, Kavanaugh established a solid track record of evaluating important regulatory issues relating to energy and environmental policy, and applying the Constitution in a fair, impartial and consistent manner.

“Judge Kavanaugh’s willingness to challenge executive branch regulatory overreach will fortify the Court and strengthen citizens’ constitutional protections from the administrative state. His voiced criticism of the doctrine of Chevron Deference, which hands legislative power to unelected federal bureaucrats, will help begin the process of clawing back power from unaccountable government agencies.

“President Trump made an exceptional pick in nominating Judge Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court and America will be stronger for it.”

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For media inquiries, please contact Erin Amsberry
[email protected]
202.621.2955

Conservative Coalition Rallies to Warn of Disastrous Economic Impact of Carbon Tax​

WASHINGTON – This afternoon the American Energy Alliance and 19 co-signing organizations sent a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy requesting that H. Con. Res 119, expressing the sense of Congress that a carbon tax would be detrimental to the United States economy, be brought before the House of Representatives for consideration at the earliest opportunity.

“No matter how the revenue is divvied up, the core of all carbon taxes is the same — American consumers will be forced to pay more on their electric bills, more at the pump, and more for consumer goods with no tangible benefit for having done so.

“There’s no such thing as a ‘conservative carbon tax’. Congress has made great strides in putting money back in the hands of American families through tax reform, it would be a shame to negate that impact through an increase in energy prices that a carbon tax would inevitably cause,” said AEA President Thomas J. Pyle.

The text of the letter can be read here.

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For media inquiries, please contact Erin Amsberry
[email protected]