Friday, June 26, 2009

In Historic Vote Waxman-Markey Energy Bill Passes U.S. House

In an historic vote, the U.S. House of Representatives late this afternoon passed the Waxman-Markey energy bill, the first piece of legislation ever approved by one house of Congress that would put a price on carbon dioxide emissions.

In a 219-212 vote, the measure passed and is now on its way to the U.S. Senate. Click here for a final vote tally.

The measure, co-sponsored by Congressmen Henry Waxman, California Democrat, and Edward Markey, Massachusetts Democrat, had been the focal point for the House Democratic leadership for weeks. In the end, despite the leadership's best efforts 44 Democrats voted against the bill. On the other hand, eight Republicans voted for it.

A few highlighted comments from interested stakeholders:

"In approving the Waxman-Markey climate bill, the House has chosen to ignore the legislation's harmful effects on American consumers, businesses and the economy. At a time when America is trying to recover from a serious recession, the House has approved legislation that would cost energy users billions of dollars and add new stress to the economy...We are hopeful that the Senate will produce a bill that does not harm the economy and includes a more balanced approach to transportation fuels and gas." Jack Gerard, president of the American Petroleum Institute

"The American Clean Energy and Security Act is the most important environmental and energy legislation in our nation's history. Today's vote is a huge achievement for the country and the climate...The bill that emerged from the House has the fundamental structure we need to significantly reduce carbon pollution while growing the economy. It puts a strong cap on emissions and reorients our energy market to make low-carbon power the goal. It ensures that utility rates will stay affordable and a competitive playing field for U.S. companies." Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund

"The [U.S. Chamber of Commerce] hopes, at some point, that Congress will find a way to balance the need for a strong U.S. economy while still addressing global climate change. Unfortunately, Congress has fallen short with this bill." William Kovacs,senior vice president of environment, technology and regulatory affairs for the U.S. Chamber

"With today's historic vote, Congress has taken the first step toward unleashing a true clean energy revolution...This bill sets the stage for the dawn of the clean energy future. While imperfect, it sets forth a set of goals America must achieve-- and exceed. Its most important achievement is setting the United States on a path to reduce carbon emissions some 80 percent by 2050." Statement by the Sierra Club

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