Roy Innis, long-time leader of one of America's leading civil rights organizations, told a group of Utah business leaders recently that Utah "will be a big loser" if climate change legislation pending in Congress is enacted into law.
"The price of gasoline in Utah could easily double from the climate change bill that they are now discussing in Washington, D.C." he told the Utah Business Coalition. "That will hurt every family, farm and business in this state. It will especially hurt those on the bottom rungs of the economic ladder, which is what concerns me most.
"With oil prices now surpassing $120 a barrel, I am simply outraged that the congress, and politicians in Utah, are even considering proposals from the radical environmental groups that would further constrict energy supply like the climate bill now in Congress. That will only cause prices to skyrocket further," Innis said.
"According to a recent study, some of the worst damage in the nation will be brought down upon the State of Utah," he said. "This state could easily flip from one of America's most productive economies into one of America's most damaged economies if the Lieberman-Warner bill is passed."
The study cited by Innis was recently done by the highly regarded Science Applications International Corporation.
The SAIC study found that passage of Lieberman-Warner would have these impacts in Utah: Utah will lose 10,227 to 15,384 jobs in 2020 and 28,155 to 37,479 jobs in 2030 under this bill. Utah would see disposable household income reduced by $919-$2,979 per year by 2020 and $3,780-$6,893 by 2030. The price of gasoline in Utah would increase between 74 percent and 140 percent by 2030, while electricity prices would increase by 96 percent to 133 percent. Natural gas prices would rise by 113 percent and 154 percent by 2030. Utah's gross state product would drop by between $1.1 and $1.5 billion per year by 2020 and $4 and $4.7 billion by 2030.
The impacts of this bill on the poor, who spend more of their income on energy and other goods than other income brackets, would be especially harsh. By 2020, energy costs would chew up 17 percent and 19 percent of income under this bill, compared to a projected 14 percent without this bill. Others on fixed incomes, such as the elderly will also suffer disproportionately. Utah's 1,125 schools and universities and 56 hospitals will likely experience a 20-24 percent increase in expenditures by 2020 and a 64-84 percent increase by 2030. For government entities, costs for services, including public transportation and vehicle fleets, such as school buses, will also rise under this bill.
"Too many government leaders have bought into the predictions of environmental Armageddon that we hear from radical environmental groups," said Innis. "Plans to stop global warming by limiting domestic energy development will devastate Utah's economy and disproportionately hurt the poor and minorities in this state." Innis called on Utah business leaders to join him in "the next great civil rights battle," which he said is to fight regressive environmental policies and increased energy costs. "Our government leaders today need the same moral courage we had in the 1960s. We cannot allow environmental radicals to pass economic Jim Crow laws on their way to ending the American dream."