Environmental Protection

Narrow Margins

Seven votes – that's the margin by which the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES, HR 2454) passed in the U.S. House of Representatives last week.

I'm sure you've heard of it. The bill is designed to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. It would set a limit, or cap, on greenhouse gases from most sectors. The cap would be divided into billions of permits that could used or bought and sold in a carbon trading market.

The media has been rife with comments from all corners. Greenpeace doesn't support it, even though you would expect its members to do so – for the environment. Their statement is that "yet another fleet of industry lobbyists has weakened the bill even more and further widened the gap between what Waxman-Markey does and what science demands." In contrast, applause was heard from obvious groups such as the Renewable Fuels Association, Public Service Enterprise Group, the Aluminum Association, and Applied Materials, the largest solar manufacturer in the world.

Just a few thoughts:

  • Politicians are not scientists.
  • How did the Waxman-Markey introduce a "comprehensive," landmark bill May 15 and get the needed votes to pass it by June 26? (Is that some sort of record?)
  • Is the bill really about economics?

Now it's the Senate's turn to discuss and otherwise wrangle through to a vote. How would you vote? Whatever your response, I suggest it might be wise to make your voice heard. There's a lot riding on this legislation.

Posted by L.K. Williams, EPonline on Jun 30, 2009 at 12:43 PM


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