A carbon regulation round table was attended by state lawmakers and by representatives of industries that will be affected by the cap and trade legislation. It is an environmental policy tool intended to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, while providing sources flexibility in how they comply. This is state representative Ken Legler, who's district includes part of Pasadena.
"I was born and raised here. I remember when the air was bad. I remember when the water was bad. And it was bad, but we've cleaned it up, and we know what we're doing. We understand what it takes to make our air cleaner, our water better, and this cap and trade, this cap and tax, it will not do anything. The whole purpose is, we want it to become better, and we're doing our job here. Let us continue to do our job and let's keep jobs here."
State representative Larry Taylor, who district includes Friendswood, calls cap and trade a jobs killer.
"It's a good opportunity to turn a great recession into another depression, if they continue on this path. Some of the folks we spoke with, were talking about the increase cost for them to do business in this country, in this state. They're up against foreign competitors. The jobs will go overseas, the industry will go overseas, and we'll pay more. I don't see how that's a good combination for America or for Texas."
He disagrees with supporters who say it will make our air cleaner.
"We're all for cleaning the air. In the last ten years, we've had more improvement in our air quality than anywhere else in our country. And that was at the same time we were adding more jobs anywhere else in the country, so it wasn't because we were running people off that our air got cleaner. We were bringing people here, bringing industry here at the same time we were cleaning up our air."
The discussion was hosted by Congressman Pete Olson. His district includes parts of Pasadena and Deer Park. He criticized the administration for not having our country's best interests at heart.
"Some of the inconsistency, they won't allow us to drill off our coast. We're spending twenty billion dollars to help the Brazilians develop an oil field off of their coast. That makes no sense to me that we're providing jobs in Brazil, and not here home in America, particularly at this time in our country's history."
Woodlands representative Kevin Brady echoed Olson's concerns. He says it is his goal.
"To stop the cap and trade bill as it comes out of the senate, should it come back to the house, and instead focus on what we all share, which is cleaner burning fuel, a cleaner air in the future, and doing it in a way that actually benefits our economy, doesn't harm it."
The White House believes cap and trade would create a market for polluters to buy and sell carbon allowances. But Brady thinks the impact on all industries and commodities would be dramatic.