- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 14, 2009

Republicans on Saturday slammed a Democratic bill before the House that seeks to address climate change, arguing that it amounts to an energy tax on consumers.

In the Republican Party’s weekly radio and Internet address, Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana said Congress should instead open the way for more domestic oil and natural-gas production and ease regulatory barriers for building new nuclear-power plants.

“During these difficult times, the American people don’t want a national energy tax out of Washington, D.C.,” said Mr. Pence, the third-ranking House Republican.

Mr. Pence reiterated what Republican lawmakers have been saying for weeks: that the climate bill being considered in the House capping releases of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases would lead to much higher energy costs and accomplish little to counter global warming if other nations do not act as well.

The bill’s supporters counter that the increased costs can be minimized.

Mr. Pence outlined the alternative proposal that he and several other House Republicans unveiled last week. The Republican plan included no mandatory limits on greenhouse gases - something that supporters of the Democratic bill argue is essential to reduce the risks of global warming.

Still, Mr. Pence maintains the Republican plan would promote nonfossil energy use.

“The Republican energy plan calls for more domestic exploration for oil and natural gas, renewed commitment to clean, emission-free nuclear energy, investments in renewable- and alternative-energy technologies and incentives to spur greater conservation among individuals and businesses,” he said.

The Republican plan calls for using revenue from more oil and gas drilling to promote renewable energy such as wind and solar. It also makes it easier to get approval to build more nuclear-power plants. The proposal also sets a goal of doubling the number of nuclear reactors during the next 20 years.

When Mr. Pence introduced the Republican measure, the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, called it “the same tired policies embraced” for years by former President Bush “at a time when Americans are seeking new solutions to rebuild our economy and break our dependence on foreign energy sources.”

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