Leading Democrats are touting an Environmental Protection Agency preliminary analysis of their sweeping climate change bill, saying that the study shows that the legislation would succeed in “moving the U.S. to a clean energy economy.”
The analysis also found that the bill's proposed cap on carbon emissions would accelerate the use of alternative energy by 150 percent over the next two decades, and that energy efficiency measures will significantly decrease energy demand. The draft bill calls for a reduction of greenhouse gases by 20 percent from 2005 levels by 2020, and 83 percent by mid-century.
The EPA analysis was requested by the bill's co-authors, Representatives Edward Markey of Massachusetts and Henry Waxman of California.
"This analysis confirms that the Waxman-Markey legislation will create a clean energy economy that will continue economic growth and cut harmful pollution," Markey said in a statement today. "When you combine this analysis with cost-saving measures from updated energy efficiency measures and weatherization, the savings will pile up for consumers."
But Republicans argue that the carbon cap would dramatically increase energy costs for consumers.
Members of the Energy and Commerce Committee said the panel's Democratic leaders are moving too quickly to try to push the legislation through and that the draft bill, which calls for broad limits on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions, was not ready for serious discussion because it doesn't say how emission permits would be distributed, the Associated Press reports.
"The manner in which you will address this issue is the cornerstone of the legislation," the 23 GOP committee members wrote in a letter to Waxman. "Without it, the bill is simply not finished and not ripe to be marked up or accurately discussed in the context of hearings."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, however, said she's determined to pass legislation addressing climate change this year.
Noting that Wednesday is Earth Day, she told reporters taht when the next Earth Day comes around "we want to celebrate what we've done this year" to address climate change and shift the nation toward greater use of clean energy.
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.