WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee Ranking Member Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) delivered remarks at a committee business meeting in opposition to the PROVE IT Act, legislation that would facilitate a domestic carbon tax on American families and consumers, and give the federal government increased authority to emulate the failed climate policies of many European countries.

Ranking Member Capito voiced her opposition to the bill, and offered two amendments (#1 here and #2 here) to address harmful provisions, including language to prevent data referenced in the PROVE IT Act from being used in future Democrat tax and spending sprees through the partisan process of reconciliation.

Below is Ranking Member Capito’s statement as delivered.

“I must express my opposition to the final bill on today’s agenda: S. 1863, the PROVE IT Act.

“The Committee has a well-established record over the last several years of finding common ground on climate legislation, and I am proud of our work.

“The Chairman and I have partnered to advance such bills as the FUTURE Act, the USE IT Act, the Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act, and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

“And now we are working together to get the ADVANCE Act, which is our nuclear bill, signed into law.

“We have also collaborated on many non-climate environment bills that will have benefits for ecosystems across this country, such as the Chesapeake WILD Act and the America’s Conservation Enhancement Act, these are conservation initiatives that I know the Chairman wants to extend these are we move through the rest of the year.

“I have the greatest respect for the bill’s sponsors, but this bill does not set up a path for climate policy I am in support of.

“Supporters have named different reasons for this bill, study American emissions on behalf of Europe, prepare for carbon tariffs, or facilitate a domestic carbon tax.

“All three of those rationales concern me.

“The substitute amendment we are considering today directs the Department of Energy to report to Congress on the average emissions of 22 industrial sectors and to compare them to those of other countries, from American allies to competitors, including China.

“It is vague on the authorities to be used by the Department to conduct this review, it enables the DOE to add additional categories at will, and allows the agency to cite why and where they found a lack of data, and to pressure companies to disclose.

“While some have stated this effort is to align with the European Union’s ‘CBAM,’ or carbon border adjustment mechanism, PROVE IT goes beyond the categories covered by the EU for reasons unexplained.

“I think decades of history proves that America should not follow Europe’s environmental and trade policies, which have left the continent reeling in the face of supply disruptions due to Russia, dealing with higher energy and living costs, and suffering a less vibrant and competitive economy than we have right here in the United States.

“The argument that the bill is just a study also does not resonate with me.

“We have a number of repositories of greenhouse gas emissions data already being collected by the federal government, and specifically the EPA, which we have jurisdiction over, such as the Greenhouse Gas Inventory and the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule…something belatedly acknowledged in the amendment that I believe Senator Cramer will be offering in the nature of a substitute later on today.

“So, I already find the redundant number of sources we have to be confusing.

“Before we consider establishing yet another greenhouse data study to burden American industry and potentially confuse policymakers and the public, we need to better understand the ones we already have.

“But even if we did that, I still have concerns with establishing a ‘carbon intensity’ study, in large part because of what I lived through as the lead Republican opposing the EPW portions of the Inflation Reduction Act.

“Even if we were all to agree that providing a study at this point in time is the only goal, and not the imposition of a carbon tax or tariff, we have seen through the Inflation Reduction Act how innocuous data collection responsibilities can later be weaponized to implement damaging, partisan policies, including taxes.

“I’ll give you an example. Subpart W and the methane emissions reduction program, also known as ‘MERP,’ is one such cautionary tale.

“Through the Inflation Reduction Act, Democrats transformed Subpart W from a reporting requirement to a hammer, used to nail a tax on American oil and gas industry to be paid by the American consumers.

“The EPA was directed to update Subpart W, a reporting framework that has existed for over a decade, and then use it to set a tax.

“I hear regularly from stakeholders now, even ones who did not oppose the MERP at the time of its enactment, who say the fee needs to be repealed because the EPA has now revised Subpart W and inflated the emissions reported under that program to impose an unjustified fee.

“All I keep thinking is ‘I tried to tell you that at the time.’

“I see the exact same thing happening with the study and reports generated by the PROVE IT Act.

“I noticed that the revised bill now includes a ‘clarification’ that nothing in the PROVE IT Act itself directly authorizes new taxes or fees.

“But that provision does not prevent Congress from imposing such a tax or tariff, through future legislation, even in a partisan fashion through the reconciliation process such as the IRA, using the studies and reports developed under the PROVE IT Act.

“We saw how once a reporting framework exists, Democrats used that that framework to impose the MERP, without running up against the Byrd Rule. Believe me we fought hard with the parliamentarians and didn’t prevail.

“And we also saw how Democrats overrode prior savings clauses as part of the Byrd rule in other reconciliation provisions in the EPW title of the Inflation Reduction Act.

“So…savings clauses are ineffective.

“I will offer a couple of amendments to try to cure some of the worst issues with this legislation, but fear that its initial premise, construction, and significant potential costs for American households and businesses require me to oppose it.

“Thank you Mr. Chairman.”

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