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US Chamber of Commerce Capitulating on Climate Law

November 6, 2009


The US Chamber of Commerce , a leading critic of a mandatory cap on carbon emissions, told leaders of a key US Senate committee on Tuesday that it could support a legislative response to climate change under certain circumstances, according to Platts news service.
In a letter to Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer and top panel Republican James Inhofe, chamber Vice President for Government Affairs Bruce Josten said the business group are open to supporting legislation to the extent it couples “the positive aspects of S. 1733, the Clean Energy Jobs and Power Act,” with provisions laid out last month by Senators John Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat, and Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican.
Kerry and Graham proposed linking cap-and-trade to new incentives for the nuclear energy industry and expanded offshore oil and natural gas drilling.
“This really is a game-changer, and I’m very pleased to report this because right now, we need to work together,” Sen. Boxer said about the Chamber’s letter, which she said she hopes would convince her Republican colleagues to change their position on current Senate climate legislation. The chamber’s letter was not an explicit endorsement of the bill, or of cap-and-trade in general. In it, Josten said the chamber would “continue to oppose bad policies that resemble the failed climate proposals of the past, such as bills that jeopardize American jobs, create trade inequalities, leave open the Clean Air Act, open the door to CO2-based mass tort litigation, and further hamper the permitting process for clean energy.”
The most recent version of the bill, written by Kerry and Boxer, would permit the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate GHGs under the Clean Air Act. It also would seek to head off litigation by emitters over EPA’s proposed “tailoring” rule, which would exempt from regulation smaller emitters of gases linked to climate change
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