Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt joined a 19-state coalition urging Congress to reject burdensome legislation that would increase fees on energy producers and hit American consumers with even greater price hikes. The two bills in question are the Methane Emissions Reduction Act in the Senate and a provision of the Build Back Better Act in the House of Representatives.
The coalition’s letter, sent Thursday, called on leadership for two U.S. Senate committees to oppose legislation that would charge oil and natural gas producers $1,500 to $1,800 per ton of methane emissions above certain thresholds.
The attorneys general cite data from industry experts showing that the more costly proposal could impose a cost of $14.4 billion and affect as many as 155,000 jobs.
“Missourians and Americans are already feeling the pain at the pump and are experiencing higher energy costs, which could spike further as we head into the winter months. Meanwhile, the Biden Administration has failed to address those rising prices and supply chain disruptions,” said Attorney General Schmitt. “Now, Congress is trying to increase fees on energy producers, who will inevitably pass that increased costs onto consumers who have already been crushed by the pandemic and rising gas and energy costs. Moreover, these fees could cost energy producers roughly $14 billion and 155,000 jobs – these proposals should be summarily rejected.”
The coalition notes that the competing fee proposals come at a particularly tough time for consumers. Its letter cites analysts who predict natural gas bills could be 30 percent higher this winter, adding to soaring prices at the gasoline pump and past due utility bills that have piled up at record levels due to the pandemic.
Instead of imposing additional fees on oil and gas producers, the attorneys’ general call upon leaders for the Senate’s Committee on Environment and Public Works and Committee on Energy and Natural Resources to focus on affordable energy solutions.
The coalition’s letter argues the Senate and House proposals could inspire more emissions-focused taxes, such as measures that would involve federal regulators extending the tax to other sectors and potentially a broader carbon tax.
For instance, the attorneys’ general specifically notes that the Environmental Protection Agency could wrongly extend the proposed tax to agricultural operations, landfills, and coal mining, all of which produce methane as well.
The letter was addressed to Sens. Tom Carper and Shelley Moore Capito, chairman and ranking member of the Committee on Environment and Public Works, as well as Sens. Joe Manchin and John Barrasso, chairman and ranking member of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
Missouri joined the West Virginia-led letter with attorneys general from Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, and Utah.
You can read a copy of the letter at this link.