House narrowly approves climate-change bill

By Chris Rizo | Jun 27, 2009

Barack Obama (D)

Jon Bruning (R)

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline)-The climate bill the House approved Friday will lead to higher costs for consumers, the leader of the nation's state attorneys general has warned.

The House narrowly passed the measure backed by President Barack Obama by a vote of 219-212. Just eight Republicans joined Democrats in supporting the bill. Forty-four Democrats voted against the plan to restrict heat-trapping carbon emissions.

"The American people are demanding that we abandon the failed policies and politics of the past; we no longer accept inaction; that we face up to the challenges of our time. And today, the House has done exactly that," Obama said Friday.

While Obama praised the House for passing the "bold and necessary bill," a day earlier Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning told Legal Newsline that the legislation will ultimately lead to higher energy costs for Americans.

Bruning, the new president of the National Association of Attorneys General, said when businesses are forced to shift from fossil fuels, increased energy-producing costs are going to be passed onto consumers.

The controversial American Clean Energy and Security Act requires that large companies, such as power producers, oil refiners, and manufacturers reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050, from 2005 levels.

The 1,500-page bill calls for a cap-and-trade program designed to achieve the emissions reductions. Under the plan, companies could buy and sell their allotted pollution permits.

"I understand that if we want to cap or reduce emissions over time, it is a good idea," Bruning, a Republican, told Legal Newsline. "But to allow Wall Street to trade futures I think is a bit risky and unnecessary."

The bill was also decried by House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, who called the measure "the biggest job-killing bill that has ever been on the floor of the House of Representatives."

The legislation was introduced by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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