House Energy Committee Continues 'Cap and Trade' Hearings
The House Energy and Commerce Committee this morning began its third day of debate on a bill that would cap greenhouse gases, after a bleary-eyed session last night brought it little closer to resolution.
The committee adjourned just before midnight Tuesday, completing a day that began at 10 a.m. By the end, members were in shirtsleeves and speeches were often louder and less organized than 14 hours before.
The result: the committee voted on 15 amendments, and approved nine. It rejected several Republican 'off-ramp' proposals that would have allowed emissions limits to be voided or changed if China and India did not follow suit, or if gas prices or unemployment rates rise above a certain point.
The committee also rejected an amendment from Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), which would have required widespread warnings to the public about the bill's cost. That provision proposed that warnings about added costs 'must be disclosed on each utility bill, fuel pump, manufactured product label, or food label.' But it still did not finish voting on all the amendments for the first of the bill's four titles. The hope for today, staffers said, was to finish with the first two titles.
The worst may be yet to come: Title III is likely the most controversial, since it describes the system of pollution 'credits' that would be allocated to some greenhouse-gas emitters.
The bill works by setting a national cap on emissions, requiring polluters to amass credits equal to their pollution. Those who reduce their pollution further could sell their credits -- which accounts for the system's informal name, "cap and trade."
Chairman Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) has pledged to push the bill through committee by Memorial Day.
May 20, 2009; 11:22 AM ET
Categories: Hearing Watch
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