This afternoon Waxman and Markey finally formally introduced H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. Up to now, they’ve just been circulating an unofficial ‘discussion draft’, but now that we’ve got some actual language (932 pages of it), we’ve got a better idea of the bill’s specifics.
And it looks like some of the specifics are significantly watered down from the original draft, largely thanks to Texas’ own Congressmen Charlie Gonzalez and Gene Green. According to a CongressDaily article, “Waxman To Release Draft Text After Striking Late Deals,”
Eyeing the start of the bill’s markup Monday, House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman struck a deal early this morning with Texas Reps. Gene Green and Charles Gonzalez that strips out a low-carbon fuels mandate and hands out credits to petroleum refiners amounting to 2 percent of all emissions under the bill’s cap-and trade-program from 2014-26. The deal might be enough to get Green, Gonzalez and perhaps other oil-patch Democrats on board. Green called the deal “a reasonable first step to protecting our energy infrastructure and keeping good-paying jobs here at home.”
The thrust of the bill, and how it differeniates from the drafts, is as follows:
- 17% emissions cut from 2005 levels by 2020 (instead of 20%)
- giving away 85% of allowances and auctioning just 15%
Unfortunately, this kind of means that no one has to really cut their emissions for 20 years. Which is disappointing, to say the least. You can see how these allowances will allocated here.
The good news is that, though the bill is compromised… we’ve got a real carbon bill introduced! The bad news is… it isn’t nearly strong enough to create the economic revolution we need to really address the carbon crisis. Now, the bill won’t go through markup until early next week, which could mean that there is a chance it could be strengthened… but it is more likely that in order to pass the whole House, it may be weakened even more.
Heavy news for a Friday, I know. It can’t be all good news all the time. We’ll keep you updated on the status of this bill through markup.
Have hope, my friends. It ain’t over til the fat lady sings.