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Support for Climate Bill Could Fray

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Hill, Jim Snyder


An environmental group is mounting a fresh assault on the climate change legislation that squeaked through the House and faces an uncertain future in the Senate, raising the prospect that the delicate coalition of support around it could fray.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) released a report Monday that is sharply critical of a provision that would allow polluters to pay farmers and ranchers to use conservation practices aimed at reducing carbon dioxide. The structure of the carbon offset program represents a significant loophole that will delay meaningful emissions reductions, the group said.

The House bill, passed last month, seeks to cut greenhouse gases by 17 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050. Electric utilities and other emitters of greenhouse gases that can’t meet their emissions reduction targets at the smokestack can instead invest in projects that would absorb carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, such as planting trees.


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