House Committee Approves Climate Change Bill

Measure may not go to the floor as quickly as expected.

Following a marathon session last week the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved the 900-page bill with a 33 to 25 vote. A cap-and-trade system that caps greenhouse gas emissions from every source is the centerpiece of the plan. The measure calls for a 20% reduction of national emissions from 2005 levels by 2020; a 42% drop by 2030; and an 83% cut by 2050.

 

A growing list of agriculture groups have sent letters to Congress expressing opposition to or serious concerns about the legislation. So far no ag organization at the national or state level has voiced an opinion in favor of the legislation.

 

Although the House Energy and commerce Committee has already passed the bill, it has been referred to eight other committees for review and consideration. One of those committees is the Agriculture Committee and committee chair Collin Peterson, D-Minn., has been vocal about his thoughts on the bill and said that he has the votes to take the legislation down.

 

Not only does Peterson say he has about 25 ag Democrat votes, he says he has another 15 to 20 "no" votes. There are several issues upsetting Ag Committee members on both sides of the aisle. One is the use of indirect land use changes to measure emissions from growing biofuel crops. Peterson said there could come a point where the leadership has to deal with these issues to get the votes to pass the bill. But if they don't want to change it he says they'll have to find the votes some other place.

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