Thursday, October 29, 2009

Greenhouse Gas Limit Debate Moves To Senate

How far should the United States reduce greenhouse gas emissions below their 2005 levels? This issue has plagued the drafters of climate change legislation in the House, which ultimately passed a measure establishing the goal of a 17% reduction by 2020. Now, in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearings on the Kerry/Boxer bill proposing a 20% reduction, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus says he believes the proposed 20% reduction will be too much of a drag on economic recovery, and that he has serious reservations about the Kerry/Boxer bill.

Senate Environment and Public Works Chair Barbara Boxer can get her bill reported out of her committee without Baucus’ vote, but doing so would highlight a leadership split which would make floor debate rancorous and passage difficult. Meanwhile, the Obama administration’s budget called for only a 14% reduction. Seems like lawmakers have a long and winding road to travel before a final piece of legislation materializes on this issue.
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