Okay, we know that’s not going to cause as much excitement in some quarters as it does ours, but it does look, at least in the House, like an all-hands brawl in the making. And that’s always fun: the Republicans have lined up over 400 amendments to introduce during the mark-up of the bill (which, according to the Politico story, can be squelched by Energy Committee chairman Henry Waxman.) Many of the amendments have no chance of passing the committee but do slow down the process of getting the bill out of committee.
But the bill, officially called the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, has also gathered unusually broad support.
In a speech today [Friday] at the National Press Club, Exelon Chairman and CEO John W. Rowe joined the debate in Washington centered on the Waxman-Markey bill, calling on Congress to pass climate legislation this year that features a cap-and-trade system to encourage investment in low-carbon energy.
And here’s League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski:
Chairmen Waxman and Markey have worked tirelessly to bring forward a crucial and historic bill that will move America towards a clean, safe energy future. Their bill will create new clean energy jobs, improve our national security, and help protect our planet. We encourage the House Energy and Commerce Committee to quickly send this bill to the House floor, where we look forward to working with Members of both sides of the aisle to strengthen it, in particular by increasing energy efficiency and renewable energy provisions.
Greenpeace no, Environmental Defense Fund yes. And Al Gore?
He likened the Waxman-Markey bill to a civil rights bill: “the most important of our lives. It is a moral imperative.” He stated that it is an environmental Marshall Plan, which is what he called for (and outlined) in his book “Earth in the Balance.”
Over at the New York Times, Paul Krugman recognizes the downside of cap-and-trade, the centerpiece of this legislation, especially since compromise is giving a fair number of the carbon credits away for free. That needn’t crater the market for carbon credits, which will form after they are all auctioned or given away, but it isn’t ideal. Krugman’s interesting column concludes:
Still, the bill represents major action to limit climate change. As the Center for American Progress has pointed out, by 2020 the legislation would have the same effect on global warming as taking 500 million cars off the road. And by all accounts, this bill has a real chance of becoming law in the near future.
Indeed it does. We want to see how some of the markup goes before determining nuclear energy’s role in the bill. It has some already, but this is legislation where nuclear could play a determinative role. Let’s see if that happens.
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.)