NEW YORK - A U.S. climate bill will cripple Texas's vital energy sector and damage the state and national economies, Republican Governor Rick Perry said on Tuesday.
Instead of enacting the Waxman-Markey bill, the country should follow his example by promoting nuclear power and alternative energy, such as wind and solar, Perry said in a statement.
He proposed the United States modernize its electricity grid and find ways to capture and store excess carbon.
The Obama administration supports the climate bill passing through Congress which aims to limit carbon emissions through a cap-and-trade system that requires industry to pay for every ton of greenhouse gas it generates.
Texas has diversified its economy away from energy, partly by focusing on technology, but the sector still supplies 20 percent of the United States' oil, 25 percent of its natural gas and refined products, and 60 percent of chemical manufacturing, Perry said.
Texas has more wind power than any other U.S. state and is building new transmission lines to carry more than 18,000 megawatts, Perry said. That is nearly as much as the current capacity of all the other 49 states.
Conservationists have criticized Texas's rush into wind power because many of the giant windmills lie along migratory bird routes in the Gulf.
Perry estimated his state has 200,000 to 300,000 people working in the energy industry, who are paid $35 billion in wages.
The energy taxes associated with the Waxman-Markey Bill will make every product that uses energy more expensive, forcing hard-working Texans to bear substantial new costs, and kicking a hole in our state's economic strength, he said.
He cited the state comptroller's estimate that the bill would raise the cost of living for Texans by $1,200 per year.
The state economy also relies on ranchers and farmers. A study by the Texas A&M university found the federal bill would drive up their costs, he said.
Perry's criticisms echo those raised by the American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, which in August said the bill will trigger job losses and force consumer to pay significantly higher energy bills.
(Additional reporting by Rebekah Kebede)
(Reporting by Joan Gralla; Editing by Andrew Hay)