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05/14/2009 11:42 AM     print story email story  

Climate Bill Update News

Democrats in the House Energy Committee reportedly are close to agreement on a climate change bill, as Committee leaders reaffirmed the bill would be sent to the House floor by the end of next week. 

"Our goal is to finish this bill by the close of business next week on the House floor," Representative Edward Markey (D-Mass.), chairman of a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee, told reporters.

However, compromises have been made to appease moderate Democrats who wanted softer targets in the proposed legislation.

House Energy Committee chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) said the greenhouse gas emissions reduction target has been decrease from 20% below 2005 levels by 2020 to 17% below. 

Also, committee members are working out how to disperse up to 35% of emissions permits for free to certain industries. The Obama administration wanted 100% of emissions to be auctioned, but said it was willing to compromise. 

The goals for a renewable energy standard (RES) have also been reduced from 25% by 2025 to 15% by 2020, with a 5% gain in energy efficiency. Furthermore, Governors would be allowed to lower their state's target to 12% with an 8% efficiency gain. 

Waxman said he was confident the bill had enough Democratic support for approval on the House floor, but he said he did not know if any Republicans would vote for it. 

A vote could happen as early as next week, before the House adjourns for a week-long recess.

Read additional New York Times coverage at the link below.


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