The Congressional Energy Bill: Good Enough?

climate-changeWhat 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!

Additional reading

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

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One Response to “The Congressional Energy Bill: Good Enough?”

  1. John Weekley Says:

    I am a public policy and political analyst for several media organizations in Dallas.

    I read on The Drudgereport that the City of Philadelphia is assessing against you a license and other fees to have a subscription/registration-optional site on the Internet.

    That decision by the “City of Franklin” is beyond outrageous, in my view. The Internet has no geography, and you could just as easily be posting from Switzerland as Pennsylvania.

    It also strikes me as the fundamental exercise of your First Amendment rights to write opinions or instructions on a public blog for which access is not dependent on payment or membership. (Would the City require book writers to pay fees and have licenses?)

    Your site is well organized and presented in a graphically appealing way. It also contains some very interesting and useful information.

    If joining your site is optional (as in a donation), and it appears to be, I don’t understand how someone can call what you are doing a business – much less a Philadelphia business.

    As far as advertising goes, I presume Google ads are the trade out for your site. My first scrub softball team in high was “sponsored” by a business, and we wore T-shirts with advertising. But, we were not a business.

    My advice is, don’t get an accountant; get a lawyer and declare yourself a “not-for-profit” organization. Having to pay the City of Philadelphia for the right to post opinions is unacceptable.

    Best regards, and good luck!

    John Weekley
    Dallas, Texas

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