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Climate Bill Costs Doubted

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Hill, Jim Snyder

Published June 26, 2009


The subject of offsets and which federal agency has the responsibility of determining what qualifies has emerged as a problem for some environmental groups, too.

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), the principal sponsor of the bill along with Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), was forced to take the authority away from the EPA and give it to the United States Department of Agriculture to win the support of farm-state Democrats.

Donald Carr of the Environmental Working Group (EWG) said, “Congress has opened a huge loophole that sends billions of dollars to farmers to do nothing more than they are already doing while letting polluters off the hook for reducing their greenhouse gas emissions.”

The legislation apparently allows action farmers have taken since 2001 to qualify as a carbon offsets.

But environmental groups, if disappointed in some late concessions to win votes for the measure, remain broadly supportive of the bill. That includes EWG, Carr said. He called the legislation a “landmark bill.”


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