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AG Derek Schmidt: Biden methane emission fee proposal would inflate cost, burden consumers

Release Date: Oct 15, 2021

TOPEKA – (October 15, 2021) – Congress should reject a Biden administration proposal to place a “fee” on methane emissions from oil and natural gas producers because it will have a devastating effect on the nation’s energy supply and further burden consumer budgets already reeling from rising energy prices, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said.

Schmidt yesterday joined a coalition of 19 attorneys general in a letter urging Congress to reject legislation to charge oil and natural gas producers $1,500 to $1,800 per ton of methane emissions above certain thresholds. The attorneys general said that data from industry experts indicates that the proposal could impose a cost of $14.4 billion and affect as many as 155,000 jobs.

“We support reasonable and lawful measures to reduce methane emissions. But a de facto tax administered through an onerous administrative regime is not that,” Schmidt and the coalition wrote. “We urge you to reject any methane tax and save American energy consumers from ever more painful price increases.”

The coalition notes that the competing fee proposals, one in the Senate and another in the House, 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 on 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, paid by Americans in economic sectors such as agriculture, mining and public landfills.

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.

Read a copy of the letter at https://bit.ly/3AJceT8.

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