State's climate activism will cost its drivers (Rich Collins)
Mr. Collins is a DE state representative (R-Millsboro). His column discusses “an announcement made just before Christmas last year that went unnoticed by most Delawareans, but . . . could be leading to higher costs for motorists.”
The 12/18/18 announcement was that Delaware is (or will be, isn’t legislative action required?) joining the Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI). This is a coalition of nine states (same group as the RGGI?), which will design a new regional low-carbon transportation policy to cap and reduce carbon emissions from transportation fuels and invest proceeds into “a low-carbon . . . transportation infrastructure” (electric vehicles, charging stations, etc.)
The RGGI was a bust, as Collins describes it, because most of the reduction in carbon emissions was due to market-based changes versus government policy. Thus, electric power generation has shifted from coal to natural gas as a result of the fracking boom that reduced natural gas prices. No comment is offered as to the benefits or drawbacks of reducing carbon emissions per se, although in our view it’s absurd to think that this arrangement has had any material impact on global temperatures, sea level rise, etc.
As with the RGGI, the general thrust of the TCI is to make fossil fuels more expensive while lowering the cost of the replacement technology. Unlike a straightforward tax/subsidy program, however, consumers won’t know exactly how much they are being charged so they won’t be able to complain about the cost as effectively. In other words, “these costs will be concealed from those that are getting their pockets picked.” Also, EV drivers won’t pay their full share for road maintenance, as they would if everyone was paying taxes based on road usage.
DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin attributes the TCI scheme to the purported necessity of fighting manmade global warming. “Climate change is no longer merely a threat to future generations; rising seas, excessive rainfall and increasing temperatures are already impacting Delaware’s infrastructure, economy and quality of life.” Aside from a link on DNREC’s website, however, no one seems to know much about the TCI or its goal to finalize the program’s design by the end of this year.” Query: Is DNREC planning to enter into this arrangement on its own authority as they previously did with an amendment (not the original agreement) to RGGI?
Summing up, Rep. Collins “will be opposing any plan placing new hidden taxes on Delaware residents. We should not be imposing additional burdens on our citizens, impairing our businesses’ ability to compete, and creating yet another layer of state bureaucracy in pursuit of a political agenda of unproven effectiveness.”
In a similar vein, see SAFE’s letter to Gov. John Carney re the proposed expansion of the Renewable Portfolio Standard to require more use of “renewable energy” to generate electric power sold in Delaware,5/27/19.