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Mollohan, Rahall and Space Still Mulling ‘Cap and Trade’

June 23, 2009

WHEELING - A bill to reduce fossil fuel emissions over the next 40 years comes at a steep price to area consumers, and three local Congressman still haven't said whether they will support it.

Sponsors of "cap and trade" legislation, House Resolution 2454, hope to have a vote on the bill before the July 4 recess.

But U.S. Reps. Alan Mollohan and Nick Rahall, both D-W.Va., and U.S. Rep. Zack Space, D-Ohio, haven't said whether they will vote for the bill. Messages left with the offices of each congressman were not immediately answered Monday.

Over the weekend, the Congressional Budget Office released estimates showing that the proposed "cap-and-trade" provisions of the climate bill would cost $22 billion a year by 2020. It's assumed by the CBO that these costs would be passed on to consumers, with the projected price being $175 per household annually.

The intent of U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, is to have the bill voted on and passed by the July 4 recess.

But thus far, not enough support has been voiced for the bill, according to Waxman.

The cap and trade bill, also known as the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, would require an 83-percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Introduced by Waxman and U.S. Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., it establishes financial incentives for businesses that work to reduce carbon emissions in the atmosphere by paying them for the "carbon credits" that result from the reductions.

Other businesses - such as utility companies - with a need to burn fossil fuels would be able to purchase the "carbon offsets," which would be auctioned.

U.S. Rep. Charles Wilson, D-Ohio, already has said he will oppose cap and trade legislation.

And U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-West Virginia, has expressed concerns about the measures, noting it would place too much of a financial burden on already cash-strapped consumers seeking to pay utility bills.

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