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Climate Bill Passes House; Heads To Senate

The House of Representatives passed cap and trade legislation by a narrow margin last Friday, 219 to 212, with more than

The House of Representatives passed cap and trade legislation by a narrow margin last Friday, 219 to 212, with more than 40 Democrats voting with Republicans against the measure. Meanwhile, eight Republicans crossed the aisle to vote for the 1,300-page bill, called the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, which now heads to the Senate where another close vote is expected.

The House bill passed only after lengthy negotiations between Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN), chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, and Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. As it stands, the House bill ( exempts agriculture from greenhouse gas emission reduction requirements. It also establishes an agricultural and forestry offset program to be overseen by the USDA.

“The offset program run by USDA creates a new market opportunity for farmers, ranchers and forestland owners who can play an important role in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.,” Peterson says. “Farmers, ranchers, and forestland owners have been participating in conservation and carbon sequestration programs for many years, working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase energy efficiency, and support a thriving renewable energy industry.”

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) says that despite the modifications made to the bill, the measure “would still have extreme effects on energy prices.” NCBA says economists estimate that the climate change bill will negatively impact farm income anywhere from $8 billion in the short term to $50 billion long term.

Interestingly, a Rasmussen poll released Wednesday found 56% of Americans aren’t willing to pay more in taxes and utility costs to generate cleaner energy and fight global warming (see article at: The national telephone survey taken after the climate change bill was passed last Friday found 21% of Americans willing to pay $100/year more for cleaner energy and to counter global warming. Only 14% are willing to pay more than that amount.

Meanwhile, a top Republican senator ordered an investigation into the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) alleged suppression of a report that questioned the science behind global warming. The 98-page report, co-authored by EPA analyst Alan Carlin, pushed back on the prospect of regulating gases like carbon dioxide as a way to reduce global warming, according to Fox News. Carlin's report argued that EPA was using outdated data and that even as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have increased, global temperatures have declined.

Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) says he's ordered an investigation. According to internal e-mails made public by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (, Carlin's superior told him in March that his material would not be incorporated into a broader EPA finding and ordered Carlin to stop working on the climate change issue. The draft EPA finding released in April lists six greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, that EPA says threaten public health and welfare.

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-- Media reports