Climate bill changing
Cap-and-trade proposal passes committee, moves to full Senate

By Charlie Morasch
staff writer


Climate change legislation, or cap and trade, has advanced from the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works, albeit with some controversy.

Cap and trade would establish carbon emission limits for several business sectors and would likely spike fuel prices. A credit system would allow businesses that operate above limits to purchase credits and businesses with leftover credits to sell them on the open market.

The House narrowly passed a cap-and-trade bill in July, and Sens. Barbara Boxer, D-CA, and John Kerry, D-MA, introduced companion legislation in the Senate in early October.

The Senate EPW Committee passed S1733 – the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act – in early November.

OOIDA Director of Legislative Affairs Mike Joyce said cap and trade has “miles to go.”

 “As we head into winter, the Congress does have miles to go on this cap-and-trade legislation,” Joyce told Land Line. “We continue to have bad economic figures come out monthly, and the American public is concerned about our economic well-being.

“Some have argued that climate change legislation could help our economic recovery. But I think those voices are going to be in the minority if and when this bill does make it to the Senate floor, which could be next year or even 2011.”

Senate Republicans boycotted Boxer’s committee meeting in early November, though Boxer went ahead and presided over an 11-1 vote to advance the climate change legislation. Republicans accused her of breaking committee rules, which require at least two members of a minority party to be present.

Boxer’s move could have an impact on the bill’s success if or when it moves to the full Senate for consideration.

White House officials have hinted that if cap and trade isn’t approved in Congress, the EPA could regulate greenhouse gas emissions by all businesses.

Republicans acknowledged the threat, but have said they won’t approve a bad law.

“The actions the EPA has taken and its plans to regulate greenhouse gases are a serious concern,” said Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-GA, according to the Wall Street Journal. “However, EPA’s actions should not scare Congress into passing bad legislation.” LL