The Congressional Energy Bill: Good Enough?
What do the Sierra Club, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and New York Governer David Patterson have in common? They all believe that the Waxman-Markey Climate bill, referred to as “the most ambitious energy and global warming legislation ever debated in Congress” by the New York Times, is inadequate.
The Washington Post notes that “Democrats turned to a coalition of business and environmental groups to help draft their own sweeping climate bill. And one little-noticed provision of the draft bill would give one of the coalition’s co-founders a lucrative exemption on a coal-fired project it is building. “
The New York Times also reports that “In weeks of closed-door negotiations…Mr. Waxman doled out billions of dollars worth of free pollution permits, known as allowances, to cushion any price shock caused by imposing a cap on emissions of heat-trapping gases. In the end, 85 percent of all pollution allowances were given at no cost for various purposes, including compensating energy-intensive industries, state governments, oil refiners and low-income households…”
The same permits could have been auctioned, especially in a time of decreasing governmental income. Worse are suggestions that the process is being rushed so that President Obama can tackle healthcare. While healthcare restructuring is an urgent matter, many studies prove that environmental degradation increases the health problems of all, especially the poorest people in our country and on the planet. These increased health problems increase healthcare costs and demands.
MoveOn.org is sponsoring a petition urging the strengthening of a bill that wasn’t necessarily written to improve our environment and energy policy, but rather with the suspect input of energy companies who also have received free allowances. Sign to Moveon.org petition at http://pol.moveon.org/cleanenergy/.
Other environmental groups do support this legislation. In fact the legislation is hotly contested across party lines and many affiliations and creeds. Whenever an issue is in so much contention, it’s essential that we educate ourselves and express our opinions. With that goal in mind, Ms. Philly Organic provides an additional reading list and encourages you to search Google for more information. Then speak up!
1. “Bill Needs Strengthening to Guarantee Necessary Carbon Reductions, New Green Jobs and Consumer Benefits, Science Group Says,” Union of Concerned Scientists, May 14, 2009
2. “EPA urged to act on climate, not wait for Congress,” Associated Press, May 18, 2009
3. “American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009,” Library of Congress, May 15, 2009
4. “Green Recovery: A Program to Create Good Jobs and Start Building a Low-Carbon Economy,” Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, September 2008
5. “Bill Needs Strengthening to Guarantee Necessary Carbon Reductions, New Green Jobs and Consumer Benefits, Science Group Says,” Union of Concerned Scientists, May 14, 2009
6. “Stopping the Coal Rush,” Sierra Club
7. “So How Good Is This Climate Bill, Anyhow?” Sierra Club, May 22, 2009