Fed. Energy Bill Starts Congressional Rounds

By Published On: April 3, 2009

A bipartisan attempt led by Democrats to create a new comprehensive energy act began in earnest March 31. Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA), chair of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, and Representative Ed Markey (D-MA), chair of the panel’s Energy & Environment Subcommittee, proposed the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. The draft bill is expected to undergo many changes. Initially, it garnered praise from environmentalists and ire from industry. “It puts firm limits on greenhouse gases,” stated Jonathan Lash, World Resources Institute president. “It’s the road to serfdom,” with less energy and fewer jobs, stated Tom Pyle, Institute for Energy Research. Included in the major provisions in the draft are: -A federal renewable energy portfolio standard beginning at 6 percent in 2012 and growing to 25 percent in 2025 (certain hydro would be included); -Efficiency programs for electricity and natural gas, with reductions of electricity usage by 15 percent by 2020 and natural gas by 10 percent the same year; -A national carbon cap-and-trade market to reduce greenhouse gases by 20 percent below 2005 levels in 2020, with cuts up to 83 percent below 2005 levels by 2050; and -Offsets for up to 2 billion tons of greenhouse gas reductions, at a ratio of 1.2 to one. Two more subcommittee hearings on the bill are set--April 20 and April 27. The full committee mark up is scheduled for May 11.

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