House Passes Climate Change Legislation

Article excerpt

In a historic vote before adjourning for the Fourth of July recess, the U.S. House of Representatives narrowly passed comprehensive climate change and energy reform legislation by a vote of 219-212. A priority for President Obama, the vote marked the first time either chamber has passed climate change legislation.

Eight Republicans joined 211 Democrats in approving legislation to establish a "cap-and-trade" system to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere by 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and 83 percent below 2005 levels by 2050. Forty-four Democrats voted against the bill.

"Today the House has passed the most important energy and environment bill in our nation's history," said Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), chair of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee and one of the bill's sponsors. "Scientists say that global warming is a dangerous man-made problem. Today we are saying clean energy will be the American-made solution. This legislation will create jobs by the millions, save money by the billions and unleash investment in clean energy by the trillions."

NLC supported the purposes of the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (H.R. 2454), which are to "create clean energy jobs, achieve energy independence, reduce global warming pollution and transition to a clean energy economy," but called on the bill's sponsors to go further in assisting local governments in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the potentially unavoidable effects of climate change. …