Iowa’s largest utility is buying full-page newspaper ads this week to protest a bill before Congress which, according to MidAmerican Energy, will dramatically raise Iowans’ power bills. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says he’s familiar with the legislation and agrees with the ad’s warning.
"It would raise the utilities for the average family of America about $3,000," Grassley says. "Now, probably in the midwest, that could be a little bit more." MidAmerican claims the Waxman-Markey bill would cost the utility $280-million a year, starting in 2012, costs that would be passed on to consumers.
The legislation aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions but Grassley says, goes about it unfairly. He says it would hurt midwestern states the most, where many power plants are coal-fired, while having less of an impact on the coasts, where more natural gas and hydroelectric plants are in use.
"We have a situation where that’s going to be a tremendous tax on us," Grassley says. "You’ve gotta’ look beyond what it does to the American taxpayers through a utility tax. Every time you turn on your light switch, you’re going to be paying for it. We’re all going to be paying for it." Grassley, a Republican, says the bill currently before the U.S. House, could have serious consequences.
"We’ve gotta’ look at the broad impact on the economy," Grassley says. "Since manufacturing is such a big user of electricity and energy, it’s going to probably force a lot of manufacturing out of the United States." Grassley says factories in India and China put out more carbon dioxide than American plants, so companies might simply relocate to nations that are less restrictive.
He says global warming is a global issue that should be addressed, not through this type of bill in Congress, but instead through some sort of an international treaty.