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Lobbyists Lining Up For Shot at Climate Bill

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Hill, Jim Snyder

Excerpt:

Meanwhile, environmental groups are focusing on another delicate issue: carbon offsets. Industries that can't reduce their emissions at the smokestack enough can make up the difference by investing in the projects that offset them. Farm groups lobbied hard to ensure conservation practices like no-till farming or adding methane digesters to hog-waste lagoons, which spew methane, a particularly potent greenhouse gas, would be eligible.

Under the House bill, farmers could get credit for their climate-friendly practices they've employed since 2001. The Environmental Working Group argued this week that created a loophole that will delay meaningful emissions cuts.

"The effect of allowing polluters to take credit for what farmers and ranchers are already doing could significantly impede our progress in slowing climate change," the EWG said in a report.

The group remains supportive of the House bill, however.

Corporate and other special interest lobbies usually hold out support for legislation until the very end of the process to keep some negotiating leverage. And inevitably some of the complaints voiced now by various groups will at the end of the day amount to little more than posturing. But the flip side is that as the bill advances further on its course to the president's desk, broad, feel-good statements about support for addressing the problem of climate change will give way to opposition for the particular strategy Congress devises to do so.

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