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Published: Friday, 5/22/2009

Latta likens climate bill to war on Ohio

BY TOM TROY
BLADE POLITICS WRITER

U.S. Rep. Bob Latta (R., Bowling Green) said the proposed climate change legislation now pending in Congress to cap carbon dioxide emissions amounts to "a war on middle America," and will hit his district especially hard.

Mr. Latta joined five fellow Republicans in a phone news conference from Washington to launch what they say is an effort to educate Americans about the true cost of the "cap and trade" legislation backed by President Obama.

The legislation cleared a key House committee last night.

The Energy and Commerce Committee approved the sweeping climate bill 33-25 after repeatedly turning back GOP attempts to kill or weaken the measure during four days of debate.

The panel's action increases the likelihood that the full House for the first time will address broad legislation to tackle climate change later this year. The Senate has yet to take up the issue.

Mr. Latta cited a study by the conservative Heritage Foundation which said the law would have the biggest impact on communities that rely heavily on manufacturing and get a lot of power from burning coal.

The study, released April 30, identified Mr. Latta's 5th Congressional District as the third most vulnerable in the country. Ohio's 4th Congressional District, represented by U.S. Rep. James Jordan (R., Urbana), was fourth in the nation.

"This is a war not only on the middle class but on middle America," Mr. Latta said. "It almost looks like Obama and the Democrats declared war on Ohio and Indiana."

Mr. Latta predicted that when the recession ends and factories start running again, "these companies are going to find out the [electric] rates are too high. These are multinationals, they're going to move overseas. There go American jobs."

According to the chart, Ohio gets 87.2 percent of its energy from coal, while Indiana gets 94.25 percent. Indiana and Ohio were rated the two most vulnerable states by the study.

Michigan gets 57.83 percent of its energy from coal and was rated sixth.

The American Clean Energy and Security Act, known as the Waxman-Markey bill, aims to cut greenhouse emissions by 17 percent over the next 11 years and by 83 percent by midcentury. Rep. Henry Waxman (D., Calif.) has said the legislation will "create millions of new clean-energy jobs, save consumers hundreds of billions of dollars in energy costs, promote America's energy independence and security, and cut global warming pollution."

He said the bill "ensures that consumers and industries in all regions of the country are protected."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Contact Tom Troy at:

tomtroy@theblade.com

or 419-724-6058.



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