Draft House Climate Bill Draws Fire, Will Offer GHG Allowances

Date: April 21, 2009

Source: News Room

A draft climate change-energy bill authored by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman and Energy and Environment Subcommittee Chairman Ed Markey, is set to be debated and voted upon and is already sparking some vitriol from southern and Midwestern states that are more dependent on energy from coal. The provision which mandates that electric utilities obtain 25% of their power from renewable resources by 2025 is a key issue of contention. "We cannot achieve a 25% mandate by 2020," said North Carolina Democrat G.K. Butterfield. "Not only is it impracticable; it is impossible." Even Tennessee Democrat Bart Gordon, who chairs the House Science and Technology Committee and who believes climate change is real, concedes that "It is important for us to have more energy independence, but [the RES] should not be punitive to different parts of the country." The draft RES recognizes wind, solar and geothermal but members from the southeastern US suggested the committee broaden the sources to include nuclear and broader uses of biomass. There is also concern that the GHG reduction targets will put domestic companies at a disadvantage to foreign competitors and pressure is mounting to remedy the situation. In response, Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) and Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA) have created a so-called Inslee-Doyle provision that exempts some industries deemed to be more exposed to international competition such as oil refineries and the steel and aluminum industries.

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