Cap-and-Trade: Out of Committee, Jumble or Jubilee?

Celebration from the leadership of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on committee passage of Waxman-Markey, i.e., H.R. 2454, The American Clean Energy and Security Act.

The Energy and Commerce Committee approved H.R. 2454, “The American Clean Energy and Security Act,” by a vote of 33 to 25.  This legislation is a comprehensive approach to America’s energy policy that charts a new course towards a clean energy economy.

“Today the Committee took decisive and historic action to promote America’s energy security and to create millions of clean energy jobs that will drive our economic recovery and long-term growth,” said Chairman Waxman.  “This bill, when enacted into law this year, will break our dependence on foreign oil, make our nation the world leader in clean energy jobs and technology, and cut global warming pollution.  I am grateful to my colleagues who supported this legislation and to President Obama for his outstanding leadership on these critical issues.” 

“With this plan, we will shape a new energy destiny for our country, where we innovate more and pollute less,” said Subcommittee Chairman Markey.  “Today we have chosen bold action to preserve good paying jobs here in America and preserve our planet.   In just eight weeks, Chairman Waxman and I, working with our entire committee, have moved us farther down the path toward energy independence than our country had moved in the past eight years.”

Ambitious claims.

The commitee website has the bill and markups. The House Republican caucus liveblogged the markup sessions with good detail on the amendments submitted and rejected, but not on exclusively partyline votes. Water vapor will still be subject to Clean Air Act regulation, we see. Well, it is, after all, the No. 1 greenhouse gas by far.

Looking for something beyond the predicted views from the expected sides, we see today’s column by Steven Pearlstein, the Washington Post’s business columnist, whose opining is reliably critical of corporate America, mostly from a liberal perspective. From “Climate-Change Bill Hits Some of the Right Notes but Botches the Refrain“:

The other thing to say about it is that it is a badly flawed piece of public policy. It is so broad in its reach and complex in its details that it would be difficult to implement even in Sweden, let alone in a diverse and contentious country like the United States. It would create dozens of new government agencies with broad powers to set standards, dole out rebates and tax subsidies, and pick winning and losing technologies, even as it relies on newly created markets with newly created regulators to set prices and allocate resources. Its elaborate allocation of pollution allowances and offsets reads like a parody of industrial policy authored by the editorial page writers of the Wall Street Journal. The opportunities for waste, fraud and regulatory screwup look enormous.

But let’s end on a more optimistic note from someone who really understands the market and the power of individual freedom and choice, Frances Beinecke, President of the Natural Resources Defense Council, and her statement, “Committee Passage Clears Path for Historic Energy and Climate Bill“:

While some in Congress have tried to block this bill, they are only keeping America tied to the failed policies of the past. As the bill moves to the House floor, we need to build on the progress made in the Energy and Commerce Committee and enact this important legislation.

By making investments in clean energy, we will create whole new industries, millions of good-paying American jobs, and generate hundreds of billions of dollars in energy savings and benefits to low-income families.

Call it the energy eschaton.

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