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ACES wild! House Dems release 1,201-page climate bill with floor debate scheduled for Friday

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"ACES wild! House Dems release 1,201-page climate bill with floor debate scheduled for Friday"

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http://www.boatlettering.net/images/Boats/Aces-Wild2.gifIn the whipsawing environment that is the House of Representatives, the vote for Waxman-Markey is back on for this week, scheduled for Friday.  My sources put the odds of an actual vote at 70-30.

The updated American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) is here (a big PDF).   E&E News (subs. req’d) reports:

House Democratic leaders late last night released a revamped, 1,201-page energy and global warming bill, clearing the way for floor debate Friday even though it remains uncertain if they will have the votes to pass it.

The House bill posted on the Rules Committee Web site has grown from the 946-page version adopted last month in the Energy and Commerce Committee. Sources on and off Capitol Hill said the bulk of the changes largely reflect requests from the eight other committees that also had jurisdiction over the bill, including the Ways and Means Committee and Science and Technology Committee.

Sponsors expect to draft a manager’s amendment later this week that reflects additional deals reached among lawmakers, according to several House Democratic aides.

Perhaps the biggest modification in the new version involves language sought by the nation’s rural electric cooperatives that gives the country’s smallest power utilities a free 0.5 percent slice of the cap-and-trade program’s valuable emission allowances.

So for, nothing terribly shocking has been changed in the bill.  But more changes will be made:

Drew Hammill, a spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), said last night in a statement that negotiations are expected to continue on the climate bill this week.

“There are some issues still under discussion, but we are confident we can resolve them by the time the bill goes to the floor on Friday,” Hammill said. “The speaker, Leader [Steny] Hoyer and Chairmen Waxman and Peterson have all agreed on this approach for moving this historic climate change and clean energy jobs bill.”

Rules Chairwoman Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) has given members until Thursday morning to submit possible floor amendments to the climate bill….

Rural electric co-ops, EPA biofuels rule

As for the Agriculture Committee, Democrats appear to have satisfied one of Peterson’s top concerns dealing with the free allowances to rural electric cooperatives.

Waxman has agreed to the 0.5 percent of allocations for small electric utilities that have under 4 million megawatts of capacity, as well as a cap on free allowances going to merchant coal generators and other power companies to ensure they do not make any windfall profits.

Glenn English, a former Oklahoma Democratic congressman who now runs the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, praised Peterson for his work on the House negotiations, adding: “We’re not going to stand in the way of the passage of the bill.”

Pelosi’s aide did not say specifically which issues remains to be worked out. However, the bill text released last night does not appear to include further changes to the definitions of “renewable biomass” that applies to either the current national biofuels mandate, or the bill’s proposed renewable electricity standard….

Also, the bill as posted does not restrict EPA’s authority to weigh “indirect” emissions from land-use changes when calculating the carbon footprint of biofuels. The issue is important because under a 2007 expansion of the renewable fuels standard, biofuels must have, to varying degrees, lower lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions than conventional fuels….

Do they have the votes?

Even with the rural electric cooperatives’ backing and other changes, it is still far from clear if Pelosi and Waxman have all the votes to pass the legislation. Several Democrats have raised red flags about voting for a bill on the floor that comes with near unanimous GOP opposition, as well as no promise of success in the Senate.

Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-S.D.), a co-chair of the fiscally conservative House Blue Dog Coalition, said last week that a number of the group’s members would be reluctant to support a climate bill if they were given less than a week to review it.

“The coalition is just not going to be ready to vote on this next week, particularly if we don’t get language until Monday,” she told E&E last week. “Because many will insist that we have a number of days to review the language ourselves, to have back and forth with our constituencies and stakeholder groups, to understand how the system with a significant manager’s amendment will work. Yes, absolutely, we need to chew on this awhile.”

… Waxman last week predicted floor passage this week as Democrats begin to more aggressively court votes.

“We’d have to pin people down, go through a whip count and talk to people who have not indicated their support for the bill at this point,” Waxman said. “But I think we would have the votes, yes.”

If they bring the bill up, they’ll have the votes.

Although I’m traveling this week, I am on the ground all Friday, so the revolution, such as it is, will be televised.

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7 Responses to ACES wild! House Dems release 1,201-page climate bill with floor debate scheduled for Friday

  1. Doug Gibson says:

    Progressive Democrats of America – the grassroots arm of the House Progressive Caucus – has already sent out an e-mail to its members. They’re asking them to contact their representatives and tell them that unless the bill is strengthened, they should vote “no.”

  2. Jim Beacon says:

    Oh, great. Now it’s over 1,200 pages. I know it’s not quite the same thing, but how many pages was the Kyoto treaty? I doubt that whatever comes out of Copenhagen will be even 100 pages. With this kind of totally unnecessary complexity, there simply must be all kinds of heinous sub-clauses buried in there. Eventually we’ll probably find there are hundreds of things like $500 million being allocated to develop a “clean-energy duck farm” in the woods behind the country estate of some congress person’s friend.

    [JR: Kyoto was a treaty, not an implementation plan. The fair comparison is the Clean Air Act and its amendments, which I would urge you to spend some time reading. It doesn't matter whether it is 1200 pages or 200 pages -- the powers that be can stick in annoying clauses. It is simply a false hope that one could pass "simple" legislation to substantially remove carbon dioxide and other GHGs from the entire US economy in under four decades while transitioning to a clean energy economy.]

  3. Alan Durning says:

    Jim Beacon: The length of the bill is irrelevant. Only the quality matters. The sections of it I’ve reviewed are very clean lawmaking — no monkey business.

  4. Chris Winter says:

    Joe Romm wrote: “Waxman has agreed to the 0.5 percent of allocations for small electric utilities that have under 4 million megawatts of capacity…” (emphasis added)

    I assume you mean either “4 Megawatts” or “4 million Watts.”

  5. Chris Winter says:

    Whoops, actually that goof came straight from E&E News…

  6. Peter Croft says:

    “… It is simply a false hope that one could pass “simple” legislation to substantially remove carbon dioxide and other GHGs from the entire US economy in under four decades while transitioning to a clean energy economy.]”

    This is not our experience in the UK. We are on course for 23% below 1990 levels and with no perceptible pain. These savings have been achieved by simple things like building insulation, appliance eficiency standards, the renewable power generation obligation etc. If the UK can do it I am absolutely sure the US can, given the profligate use of energy on your side of the pond.

    [JR: Your comment is non-responsive. In general, I'm not thrilled with people who misstate what I write in order to attack it. I have always argued that simple measures will reduce emissions. A national climate and clean energy bill for a country as large as the United States, however, ain't gonna be simple.]

  7. One reason why it’s so nip-and-tuck to pass this Bill is that it is hard for anyone in the general public to look at the Bill and see a clear and immediate benefit, especially something to help us out of this deep and worsening recession. Instead the main focus is on new emissions regulations. We all know where this leads (to green jobs) but the link is not direct & immediate.

    It could help tremendously if someone is savvy enough to add the Architecture 2030 Plan to the Bill. This is a serious proposal by prominent architects, builders, banks et. al. to revitalize the housing industry (currently at 20% unemployment!) by providing mortgage interest buydowns for homes and remodels that meet greatly improved energy efficiency standards.

    http://energyeconomyonline.com/Architecture_2030_Plan.html

    The housing industry was promised a stimulus bill of its own which never materialized. The Architecture 2030 Plan, if added to Waxman-Markey, would give a lot of wavering Congressmen and Senators “a reason to vote for the bill” that their constituents could understand. Architecture 2030 calculates its Plan could put over 4 million people to work — that’s a good reason to vote for Waxman/Markey if you get that Plan into this Bill.