On Tuesday in the Capitol Auditorium, Texas state leaders gathered for a federal climate change legislation summit on the economic impacts for Texas from the federal climate bill known as Waxman/Markey. This massive legislation, the American Clean Energy and Security Act, narrowly passed the U.S. House of Representatives in late June. With the bill’s fate now in the hands of the U.S. Senate, these sweeping federal mandates to control energy move perilously close to becoming U.S. law. Wisely, Gov. Rick Perry and state agency heads convened to sound a clear alarm: with more at stake than any other, the Texas economy would likely be devastated by the sweeping, forced transformation of energy federally mandated by this bill.

This extraordinarily large of group of state leaders did not mince words. Governor Perry began the summit with the assessment that the Waxman/Markey federal climate bill would be “an economic disaster for Texas” – a sentiment shared by the 12 commissioners of major state agencies participating.

Hosted by Public Utility Commission (PUC) Chairman Barry Smitherman, all members of the PUC, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and the Railroad Commission presided. Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples, Deputy Comptroller Martin Hubert, and Texas Workforce Commission Chairman Tom Pauken spoke. Twenty-four speakers representing academia, think tanks (including myself), manufacturing, refining, agriculture, oil and gas, electric utilities, renewable energy, environmental and consumer interests populated the five panels in this day long summit. A large majority of the speakers either adamantly opposed the bill or underlined the unavoidably negative impacts on energy prices, food, consumer goods, and employment.

Chairman Pauken noted the urgent need of federal policies “designed to encourage capital investment and create jobs in the private sector… Government cannot create jobs; only the private sector can. Waxman/Markey will kill more jobs than it creates.”

The state leaders who participated in this cap-and-trade summit should be saluted for their courage and candor. Texas leadership provided an informed and unified stand against Waxman/Markey as a Texas job killer with no measurable environmental benefits. Bravo!

– Kathleen Hartnett White