Ed Markey’s Energy Hypocrisy?
Last week National Journal held a forum in Washington, D.C. where three members of the U.S. Senate discussed the prospect of lifting the current ban on crude oil exports from the United States. Senators Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and John Hoeven (R-ND) both expressed support for easing the restriction, while Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) articulated considerable skepticism.
Interestingly, Markey’s chief concern seemed to be the negative financial impact that lifting the ban would impose on consumers. In his remarks, the Senator specifically cited a 2015 report released by Barclays Equity Research that suggests that American consumers saved a total of $11.4 billion in 2014 at the pump as a result of the export ban, and can expect to save another $10.2 billion this year.
Ignoring for a second whether or not Barclays’ analysis is correct (or even the issue of the crude export ban, itself), it is interesting to see Markey suddenly show concern for the effect that rising energy prices may have on consumers. After all, the proposed American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, perhaps better known as Waxman-Markey, would have implemented a cap-and-trade scheme, imposing billions of dollars onto American families in the form of higher energy prices. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated this figure to be about $175 per household in 2020.
To do some quick, back-of-the envelope calculations: the $11.4 billion in savings Americans supposedly derive from the export ban divided among the approximately 115 million American households would see the typical household save about $99 each year. These purported savings amount to roughly 40% less than the costs Waxman-Markey would have been imposed had it become law.
If Senator Markey wants to make a case for respecting hardworking taxpayers in determining energy policy, he should heed his own advice.