BREAKING: Stenhouse submits testimony on Senate bill that restricts energy choice

Stenhouse Submits Testimony against “Fantasy” Senate Bill, Harmfully Seeking to Curb RI’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Providence, RI – The CEO for the  the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity submitted written testimony this morning to the Senate Committee on Environment & Agriculture, regarding a Senate bill (S0078) scheduled for a hearing this afternoon that would accelerate Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GGE) reduction mandates for the state. 

In his testimony, posted online here, Mike Stenhouse writes: 

It is pure fantasy that there is anything our small state can do to impact the greater world climate. When weighed against the punishing economic realities that would be forced upon our state’s residents, the calculation becomes far, far worse.

Renowned climate change advocate, John Kerry, this week publicly admitted that even the entire US, alone eliminating GGE, would be insignificant for the globe. Further, Rhode Island’s capacity to impact world GGE is merely 1/350th of our entire nation’s stated non-capacity. 

Energy policies are best handled at the federal and international level, as state-based and other local efforts end up producing an incredibly poor cost-vs-benefit value proposition. As our report demonstrates, legislation like S0078 and the TCI gas tax, would mean that that Rhode Islanders would bear the high economic costs … for zero meaningful environmental benefit

Stenhouse, after citing (from his organization’s recent report) the harsh negative economic impacts that even a smaller climate change initiative (TCI) would cause, concludes his testimony by pleading: 

I ask you not to give families and businesses yet another reason not to choose Rhode Island as their destination to live, work, and invest in our state. 

The “report” referred to was published last week by the Center, a 10-page paper, The Effects of a TCI-Style Gas Tax on Motor Fuels in Rhode Island, which calculates that the total social costs of such a gas tax would be 105 times more severe than the anticipated social benefits. Under TCI in Rhode Island, global carbon emissions would be reduced by an insignificant 0.00016%. 

Alos, according to a recent poll commissioned by the Center, public support for the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) drops significantly when voters learn the policy will result in gas tax hikes, a significant projected loss of jobs, and a major reduction in the average family’s disposable income, especially since TCI will “disproportionately affect commuters and low-income families.”

Last month, the Center was one of 20 co-signers of an open regional coalition letter, which concluded that “at its core, TCI is a poor concept that is fundamentally regressive, economically damaging, and places an unnecessary financial burden on people who can least afford it.” 

More information about the proposed TCI gas tax can be found on the Center’s TCI webpage:

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