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September 23, 2009

GOVERNOR BARBOUR EXPRESSES CONCERN OVER FEDERAL ENERGY POLICY
Current proposal could increase energy costs, hurt U.S. competitiveness

Gov. Haley Barbour has notified Mississippi's Congressional delegation about his concerns about how current energy policy and climate change proposals would raise costs for working Americans and put American businesses at a competitive disadvantage globally.

The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, also known as the Waxman-Markey bill, will raise taxes on U.S. energy producers. Those taxes will be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices, and the increase will drive away American jobs and investment.

"Having energy policy that purposefully raises the cost of energy is the worst thing that could be done for our economy," Governor Barbour said in a letter to members of Mississippi's Congressional delegation."Policy should encourage abundant, affordable, American energy while also encouraging innovation to avoid harming the environment. The Waxman-Markey bill limits energy options and will make energy more expensive."

The Waxman-Markey bill would cause electricity costs in Mississippi to be 64 percent higher, gasoline prices to increase as much as 26 percent and natural gas prices to rise as much as 73 percent, according to a recent study by the National Association of Manufacturers and the American Council for Capital Formation.

In addition to raising energy costs for families and businesses, Waxman-Markey does not reduce our country's excessive reliance on foreign oil. Congress should enact policy that provides energy security by reducing our dependence on imported oil, growing our economy and encouraging energy conservation and development of clean energy sources.

"More American energy means more investment and more American jobs," Governor Barbour said.

Any energy policy reform also must preserve American jobs. Mississippi and other Southern states have relatively lower energy costs on average than states with few energy resources and production capacity. This has given the region a competitive advantage for growing the manufacturing sector. If energy becomes more costly, energy-intensive manufacturing companies will be driven elsewhere.

"We cannot afford for any more good-paying, highly skilled manufacturing jobs to be driven offshore," Governor Barbour said.

Read the letter sent to U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran here.