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More Fire From Environmentalists Over Dems Climate Change Bill

Since House Democrats this afternoon released their finalized version of legislation aiming to mitigate America’s role in global climate change, the response from environmentalists has been, well, not very encouraging. Here’s the statement just issued by Greenpeace:

Despite the best efforts of [Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif)], this bill has been seriously undermined by the lobbying of industries more concerned with profits than the plight of our planet. While science clearly tells us that only dramatic action can prevent global warming and its catastrophic impacts, this bill has fallen prey to political infighting and industry pressure. We cannot support this bill in its current state.

We mentioned earlier a few of the reasons that environmentalists are up in arms over the bill, which was diluted to attract support from a number of fossil-fuel-friendly Democrats on the E&C panel. Heightening their concerns, the advocates don’t see this proposal as a first step in some incremental process toward cutting emissions (or else they’d probably support it). Rather, the feeling is that if lawmakers this year pass reforms calling for 17 percent carbon reductions by 2020 (as mandated by the bill), they aren’t going to return next year to bump that figure to 20 or 25 percent — where many observers think the threshold should be. That’s the reason environmentalists are calling for Democrats to scrap this proposal and start the process anew — this time focusing their climate change bill on alleviating climate change, not catering to the polluters causing climate change.

Bill opponents might yet be in luck. That’s because even in its watered down state, the Waxman bill is still too radical for most Republicans to swallow. That won’t matter so much in the House, but this thing might easily die in the Senate.

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