For the past several months, politicians and regulators in Hartford have been outraged over the increased cost of electricity, food, fuel to heat our homes, and gasoline to drive our cars.

Let me reiterate: They have been OUTRAGED.

Yet here we are with an election year safely behind and many in Hartford are considering a bill that would raise energy costs across the board, and they know it! S.B. 1145 would increase energy by targeting and taxing emissions from cars, buildings, electric plants, and other sources like emissions from your gas stove and fireplace!

S.B. 1145  would also take away control from the Connecticut General Assembly and give it to the Commissioner of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. (DEEP) Under the bill, the commissioner would be able create new policy regarding emissions which would have far reaching effects by implementing new taxes and fees with no recourse by consumers.

“We are not doing our job as legislators by ceding our authority to one person,” said State Sen. Stephen Harding from Brookfield during an Environment Committee hearing on March 24.

We couldn’t agree more. The DEEP commissioner is an appointed bureaucrat, not an elected official, and should not have the authority to enter into tax agreements with other states and countries. There is a reason why we have three branches of government. Checks and balances are in place for a reason and this bill doesn’t have them.

TCI times seven

A couple of years ago, a regional emissions’ effort called “The Transportation Climate Initiative” (TCI) failed after lawmakers intentionally let it die on the calendar without calling it for a vote.  TCI would have created a fourth gasoline tax in Connecticut, and it was also unsuccessful in other states considering it as well.

S.B. 1145 is worse because it’s TCI times seven! Not only would it tax gasoline, but this emissions bill would also levy taxes and limit the use of natural gas, home heating oil, electricity that uses fossil fuels which is the case in Connecticut, propane, kerosine, and now add food. The bill would also regulate methane produced by farm animals. All of this drives up the cost.

To recap, S.B. 1145 would increase the cost of gasoline, natural gas, home heating oil, electricity, kerosine, propane, and food.

And for what?

Without other countries in the world on board, what tiny Connecticut does to combat emissions worldwide won’t make a dent in climate change. But S.B. 1145 will cause more financial hardships and a lot of people won’t be able to pay their energy bills.

Rep. Mark Anderson, a Republican from Granby, summed it up perfectly during the March meeting on the bill.

“I don’t believe there has been a real cost benefit analysis of this bill,” Rep. Anderson said and noted how countries like China are still burning coal. “This bill potentially has very negligible benefits to global warming, climate change. It has the potential of greatly increasing consumer costs for food, electricity, natural gas, heating oil. So, my concern is global cooling, people cannot afford to heat their houses in the winters, where cost were way up.”

Our industry in the liquid fuels has drastically changed over the last few decades. We have lowered our greenhouse gas emissions. We produce an ultra-low sulfur heating oil mixed with renewable biodiesel. We have done everything the state has asked us to do, and yet, they have a target on our backs and the backs of our customers. Fuel diversity is key to lowering emissions and lowering costs for consumers.

We adamantly oppose S.B. 1145 and want consumers to know that their energy future, and their hard-earned dollars, are under attack.

Chris Herb is President and CEO of the Connecticut Energy Marketers Association.