Waxman's clean energy draft includes cap-and-trade proposals

US House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry A. Waxman released a draft of clean energy legislation on Mar. 31 which includes a proposed cap-and-trade program.

Apr 3rd, 2009

US House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry A. Waxman released a draft of clean energy legislation on Mar. 31 which he said was aimed at reducing US dependence on foreign oil and combating global warming.

Waxman and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), who chairs the committee's Energy and Environment Subcommittee, said that the proposed legislation, the 2009 American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), is a comprehensive approach to US energy policy which charts a new course toward a clean energy economy.

"This legislation will create millions of clean energy jobs, put America on the path to energy independence, and cut global warming pollution. Our goal is to strengthen our economy by making America the world leader in new clean energy and energy efficiency technologies," Waxman said.

The draft, which he and Markey said would create millions of new clean energy jobs, enhance US energy security and cut global warming pollution, has four titles. The clean energy title promotes renewable sources, carbon capture and sequestration (CC&S) technologies, low-carbon fuels, clean electric vehicles, and the smart grid and electricity transmission.

The energy efficiency title aims to increase energy efficiency across the US economy, including buildings, appliances, transportation and industry. The global warming title would place limits on emissions of heat-trapping pollutants, and the transitioning title would protect US consumers and industries and promote green jobs during the transition to a clean energy economy, Waxman and Markey said.

Cap-and-trade

The global warming title discusses a possible cap-and-trade program. "One key issue that the discussion draft does not address is how to allocate the tradable emission allowances that restrict the amount of global warming pollution emitted by electric utilities, oil companies and other sources. This issue will be addressed through discussions among committee members," the discussion draft summary noted.

Other Democrats on the committee applauded the proposals. Rick Boucher (Va.) said that it included bipartisan legislation he introduced on Mar. 24 to fund accelerated development of CC&S technologies. "I am reviewing the provisions of the draft and will be consulting with interested parties, including colleagues on the committee, regarding changes which I will recommend for the purpose of assuring the control program is economically sustainable and will not be economically disruptive," he said.

But the committee's ranking minority member was not impressed. "Tuesday's cap-and-trade bill marks a triumph of fear over good sense and science, and it couldn't come at a worse time because it proposes to save the planet by sacrificing the economy," maintained Joe Barton (R-Tex.).

He said that US unemployment stands at 8.1%, with a rise to 8.5% expected on Friday, and jobless rates already top 10% in California, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, Oregon, Michigan, Rhode Island and Washington, DC. "So it's not surprising when the Gallup Poll reports that 41% of Americans consider global warming an exaggeration. I consider it a dangerous exaggeration because it gives rise to plans like this one which increase unemployment and raise electricity bills," Barton said.

Waxman said that the committee would complete consideration of the legislation by Memorial Day. He said that the Energy and Environment Subcommittee would hold hearings the week of April 20 and begin marking up the bill the week of April 27. The full committee is scheduled to begin its markup the week of May 11, the chairman said.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com

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