Babrour talks in Aspen on Obamacare and energy

Frequently interrupted by applause from the audience, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour panned two high-profile efforts of the Obama administration — on energy and healthcare — during a talk at the Aspen Institute on Monday evening.

Barbour, who is serving his sixth year as the Republican governor of Mississippi, addressed a full house at the Paepcke Auditorium as part of the Institute’s free summer lecture series. The talk was moderated by institute president and CEO Walter Isaacson.

Barbour criticized the Obama administration’s cap and trade bill designed to lower carbon emissions. The bill is a misdirected effort that would only increase the cost of energy to Americans, he said.

“We don’t need less-affordable energy, we need more energy,” Barbour said. “Taking a policy that drives up the cost of energy is just the opposite of what we need in a recession.”

Barbour said Mississippi successfully weathered the early stages of the recession, but that the high cost of energy was too much for the state to bear. When gasoline hit the $4 mark, “it brought us to our knees,” he said.

Although Barbour agreed that cutting carbon emissions is worthwhile, he said the U.S. shouldn’t put a price on carbon until other nations agree to comply with the regulations. If nations such as India, Brazil and China don’t adhere to international emission standards, U.S. efforts to offset greenhouse gas emissions will be negligible, Barbour said.

Aspen Daily News