The Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES) seemed to have hit a snag this week. One of the reasons was the opposition of House Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson and agribusiness to the EPA -- instead of the USDA -- monitoring agricultural pollution. No agreement has been reached on that issue, but it looks like the bill will make it to the floor on Friday anyway -- even though, as CongressDaily reports, the 218 votes needed to pass it aren't a lock and negotiations continue.
Supporters and opponents of the bill are therefore kicking into high gear -- which means facts be damned in the case of the latter. The EPA and CBO have estimated the average household cost of the bill as somewhere between 22 cents and 48 cents per day ($80 to $175 per year) -- without taking into account the benefits of reduced global warming, energy efficiency promotion, or job creation. But that hasn't stopped Republicans from claiming the cap and trade program will "cost every American family $3000". They are also, of course, predicting massive job losses and a weak economy -- the same tired line they have used for decades in opposing clean air and clean water laws -- even though history has proven them wrong time and again and this bill would do the same.
Clean energy advocates like NRDC, Sierra Club, 1Sky, and Green For All are mobilizing activists to support and strengthen the legislation -- and fight any efforts to weaken it. Some of the issues include possible changes to clean energy incentives, emission reduction goals, the renewable energy standard, enforcement, green job investment in lower income communities, and auctioning pollution credits versus giving them away to polluters.
Clearly in the coming days the big bucks will go to corporate lobbyists and groups like Newt Gingrich's American Solutions for Winning the Future, which released an ad yesterday predicting, "We'll lose more jobs, pay more for gas and electricity -- pushing our economy to its breaking point." Fearmongering Republicans will continue to try to scare the hell out of the public. So now's a good time to get involved in this fight, help level the playing field, and talk sense with your Representative about the need to strengthen and pass this bill.