Front Porch Blog

Waxman-Markey Clears First Hurdle, Passes Committee

The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 cleared its first of many hurdles to passage yesterday, passing the Energy and Commerce Committee by a vote of 33-25. The vote was mostly party line, with three conservative Democrats defecting (Mike Ross (AR-04), Jim Mathson (UT-02), and Charlie Melancon (LA-03)) and one Republican voting with the Democratic Majority (Mary Bono Mack (CA-45)).

Reactions are mixed from environmentalists and industry alike, but here is a partial round-up:

1Sky Celebrates
Sierra Club Applauds
Greenpeace: Broad Coalition Criticizes Climate bill
Scholars and Rouges has mixed emotions
Climate Bill Wins Enough Votes to Pass, but at What Cost?

President Obama’s statement

I commend Chairman Waxman and the Members of the Energy and Commerce Committee for a successful effort to pass a comprehensive energy and climate bill out of their committee today. We are now one step closer to delivering on the promise of a new clean energy economy that will make America less dependent on foreign oil, crack down on polluters, and create millions of new jobs all across America. The bill is historic for what it achieves, providing clean energy incentives that encourage innovation while recognizing the concerns of sensitive industries and regions in this country. And this achievement is all the more historic for bringing together many who have in the past opposed a common effort, from labor unions to corporate CEOs, and environmentalists to energy companies. I applaud the committee for its action and look forward to signing comprehensive legislation.

There is some hope that the bill may be strengthened as it goes to the Ways and Means Committee in the House (and potentially several other committees), but most seem to believe that the bill will continue to get weaker. Consensus in the environmental community seems to be that the bill is imperfect, and even disappointing in many regards in its leniency to the fossil fuel industry which is destroying the climate in the first place. However, people seem excited because if passed this bill will begin to regulate carbon dioxide emissions, a dire and necessary step in order to prevent catastrophic climate change within our lifetimes. President Obama, Chairman Waxman, and others believe that a win begets a win. For the environmental movement – passing a bill that regulates greenhouse gas emissions – even in an imperfect vehicle such as Waxman-Markey, must be the first of many such wins if we are to accomplish what the science says is necessary to save the planet as we know it.





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