Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) made the following statement at a Rules Committee hearing blasting H.Con.Res.119, Expressing the sense of Congress that a carbon tax would be detrimental to the United States economy:
“The anti-climate resolution H.Con.Res.119 is the latest example of Republicans burying their heads in the sand about climate change. Instead of considering legislation responsive to the needs of the American people, we are wasting our valuable, limited time expressing opposition to a hypothetical carbon tax that does not exist and has not been proposed in the 115th Congress.
“Climate change remains an unnecessarily politically divisive topic in Congress. Rather than sitting down and coming together with realistic options for what our nation can do, the Republican Majority continues to block any conservation-related measure proposed by the Minority in order to cater to the whims of extreme voices within their party. I don’t understand how anyone can argue against protections for clean water, clean air, and preservation of the landscapes emblematic of our country. I can’t fathom how someone could do this and then turn around and claim to be pro-environment.
“I live in South Florida. When I drive down A1A from Fort Lauderdale to Miami Beach, I see first-hand the effects of climate change, sea-level rise, and the resulting coastal erosion. When I speak on this issue I tell everyone listening that 50 years from now, none of the condos, hotels, or large scale development presently taking place in South Florida will be there anymore. Between developers and Mother Nature, I am betting on the water.
“A few years ago while in Tromso, Norway, I saw something that I never imagined I would ever witness: I saw a polar bear drown. It’s a profound thing to see – an animal struggling with all its might to reach its young on an ice flow that had floated away, until it could struggle no longer and succumbed to its environment. This may sound like tear-jerky stuff, but when we start losing these things we ultimately lose ourselves. If we continue down this path and do not work together, we will lose our humanity.
“It should be this institution that changes our course. We shouldn’t be pandering to those who really don’t understand the issue: it is our responsibility to undertake, and we must do so with the urgency it deserves. We have the ability in this great institution to come together; those who favor oil, those who favor coal, and the so-called ‘tree-huggers’ who favor things like renewable energy and environmentally conscious policies, to be real visionaries for sustainable environmental practices. We are not doing ourselves any service by offering up messaging legislation that stands no chance of becoming law – nor should it ever become law.”
Congressman Alcee L. Hastings serves as Senior Member of the House Rules Committee, Ranking Democratic Member of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, and Democratic Chairman of the Florida Delegation.