Sunoco CEO Spars with Rep. Markey on Cap and Trade
Sunoco CEO Lynn Elsenhan and Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) exchanged words during a session at this week’s Wall Street Journal CEO Council in Washington, D.C., the Journal reported on Wednesday. As shown in the video below, Elsenhan said that the American Clean Energy and Security Act, which is sponsored by Rep. Markey and Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), did not establish a level playing field and clearly picked US oil refiners as “losers.”
She went on to say that the cap and trade measures in the ACES bill, also known as the Waxman-Markey bill, did not resemble the European measure they were modeled after. “Europeans got their cap and trade allowances for nothing,” she said, “and they are not responsible for the emissions of their customers.” They are only responsible for the own stationary emissions.
I am very willing to have all of my stationary emissions be paid for by cap and trade” and be more energy efficient, but asking US refiners to be responsible for their customers’ emissions puts them at “great peril” and makes their ability to cap and trade more important than their ability to refine crude into products and deliver those products to customers.
In response, Markey said that the bill contained $2.5 billion to “deal with” the additional costs to the refining industry, and that this provision is still subject to negotiation as the bill moves through the Senate. He mentioned that the bill also contained a protective border tariff that is triggered in 2020 to protect energy-intensive, trade-vulnerable industries from exploitation by China, India, and other countries that are not engaging in the same reductions in greenhouse gas emissions as the U.S.
Markey continued by saying that these provisions to protect the US oil industry sent a “real signal” to the world—“We are not going to stand by and watch our steel, aluminum, cement, and other energy-intensive industries be exploited by us moving along with the Europeans.”
The Waxman-Markey bill has been a lightning rod for controversy since it narrowly (219-212) passed in the House on June 26, 2009. The cap and trade provisions of the bill, and its impact on both refiners and consumers alike, are particularly controversial.
However, the debate between Elsenhan and Markey may be moot. Nuclear energy has emerged as a new focus of climate change legislation. Steven Zweig wrote on HeatingOil.com on Oct. 9 that several key Democrats in the Senate, including Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) may support nuclear power in exchange for Republican support of cap and trade. As Zwieg wrote on HeatingOil.com on Tuesday, to get climate change legislation passed in the full Senate, Democrats must bargain to gain support of a “critical mass” of Republicans. Such Congressional backroom maneuvering should ensure that any bill that does make it to the president’s desk will bear little resemblance to Waxman-Markey.