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Former Congressman Boucher (D. VA. 9th) lost re=election in 2010 for his close association with President Obama and his support of Obama's cap and trade tax put the nail in his election coffin.

Former Congressman Boucher on Cap and Trade

Congress of the United States
House of Representatives
Rick Boucher
9th District, Virginia

This is just one of the reason why Mr. Boucher lost his House seat in 2010.

September 28, 2009

Thank you for contacting me to express your concerns regarding the American Clean Energy and Security Act, which has been approved by the U.S. House of Representatives. I appreciate your taking the time to share your views with me. Contrary to the claims that some have made, passage of the legislation will not increase taxes or cause job losses.

Electricity rates will be kept affordable, and the use of coal, our nation's most abundant energy resource, will continue to grow. I am pleased to have this opportunity to explain the process by which these results were achieved.

The choice is not between doing something and doing nothing. In 2007, the Supreme Court effectively required the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

Therefore, the choice is between EPA regulation and Congress intervening with its own regulatory program. Virtually all interested parties, from industry to the environmental community, would prefer that Congress regulate because, unlike EPA, Congress can consider the economic effects of regulation. We can simply do a better job.

In essence, we have no alternative but to pass legislation through the Congress regulating greenhouse gases and do so in an economically sustainable way.

Improperly drafted legislation could have had a major adverse effect on both our region's coal industry and electricity rates in our area. As a senior member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, I was determined to prevent these outcomes and to assure that the legislation which passed the House enabled growth in our region's coal industry and kept the overall cost of the program to a negligible level for the typical homeowner. We have achieved these goals.

To have a role in the legislation, I simply had to be a part of the process. If I had announced my intention to vote no, I would have had no ability to negotiate the dozens of changes in the original draft of the bill which were ultimately accepted and which earned for the legislation the support of a broad swath of American industry, including electric utilities and American Electric Power Co., which serves our region.

Simply stepping aside and voting no would have been the politically easier course; however, it would have been irresponsible because I then would have had no opportunity to modify the legislation to prevent it doing serious economic harm. Unless I was going to be helpful in moving the legislation through the House, the Chairman of the Committee would have refused to enter into the extensive negotiations with me which resulted in major modifications of the bill.

Over two months of intensive negotiations, I was able to modify the original bill to assure that emission allowances are provided for free to electric utilities. By receiving free allowances and avoiding the cost of acquiring allowances at an auction, electric utilities can keep electricity rates affordable and can continue to use coal instead of having to shift to a fuel that has a lower CO2 content.

Another of my changes provided the offsets which will enable electric utilities to achieve their required reductions in CO2 emissions by planting trees or investing in agriculture while continuing to use coal at the generating plant.

The offsets enable CO2 emitters to meet their greenhouse gas reduction obligations while continuing to burn increasing amounts of coal. My amendments lowered the CO2 reduction targets and also facilitated the early introduction of carbon dioxide capture and sequestration technologies, which will assure the long-term life of the coal industry across our nation.

The official projection of the EPA is that because of the amendments I was able to add to the bill, coal use will grow by 2020 as compared to 2005 production figures, and the total cost of the program for the typical American home will be no more than 20 to 30 cents per day per family. That number is well less than the cost of a postage stamp daily.

While it was necessary to pass this measure in order to prevent an inevitable, poorly balanced regulation from the EPA, the legislation also contains major benefits for our region and the nation's economy. It promotes energy independence by broadly accelerating the move to all electric vehicles, which will be fueled by American coal instead of imported petroleum. With the certainty the law provides, a large amount of pent-up capital investment by electric utilities will be unleashed.

Many utilities have been waiting for the rules on greenhouse gas reductions to be written before they make major capital investments. And over the longer term, as industry throughout the world seeks to deploy low carbon dioxide emitting technologies, those new technologies will be innovated in American laboratories, manufactured in our factories, deployed at home and exported throughout the world. Many economists predict that the passage of this bill will open the door to America's next technology boom. It will be in energy technology and will create millions of jobs.

I am already having discussions with a group of members of the United States Senate who will be deeply involved in the debate in that body about additional changes which could be made to the legislation to make it more economically acceptable. By being a key drafter of the bill in the House and supporting its movement through the legislative process, I was able to protect this region's interests, and I am assured of a seat at the table when the final bill is written in negotiations between House and Senate members.

I hope you find this information useful, and I would welcome your further comments and suggestions regarding this and other matters of importance to Southwest Virginians.

Thank you again for contacting me. With kind regards, I remain

Sincerely, Rick Boucher Member of Congress

Boucher loses House panel chair

A liberal Massachusetts Democrat will take over a House subcommittee that will play a major role in drafting legislation on global warming and other environmental issues. Rep. Edward Markey, known for his tough stances on environmental issues, will replace Rep. Rick Boucher, a Virginia Democrat who has been friendly to the coal industry.

Boucher had chaired the panel eight years. Markey's appointment is another sign that House Democrats plan to aggressively tackle global warming and other environmental problems. He will take charge of an expanded subcommittee with broader jurisdiction, renamed Energy and Environment... January 9, 2009 Associated Press.