Waxman-Markey Draft Clean Energy Bill

March 31, 2009

Today, Chairman Henry A. Waxman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Chairman Edward J. Markey of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee released draft clean energy legislation that promises to reduce emissions and create jobs. Titled the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACES), the legislation hopes to achieve a wide range of goals.

The American Clean Energy and Security Act will create millions of new clean energy jobs, save consumers hundreds of billions of dollars in energy costs, enhance America’s energy independence, and cut climate change pollution.  To meet these goals, the legislation has four titles:

  • A clean energy title that promotes renewable sources of energy, carbon capture and sequestration technologies, low-carbon fuels, clean electric vehicles, the smart grid and electricity transmission;
  • An energy efficiency title that increases energy efficiency across all sectors of the economy, including buildings, appliances, transportation, and industry;
  • A climate change title that places limits on emissions of heat-trapping pollutants; and
  • A transitioning title that protects U.S. consumers and industry and promotes green jobs during the transition to a clean energy economy.

The Waxman-Markey clean energy bill has been much anticipated among those in the environmental community because it is expected to be one of the most comprehensive and well structured bills addressing climate change. Chairman Waxman has taken the lead on climate legislation before, including the Safe Climate Act, a bill that also called for 80% reductions by 2050. There is a lot of love with the Waxman-Markey ACES bill and a lot of reason to believe that this type of legislation will fare better this year than in years before. The bill is framing itself as a way to save America jobs and help save Americans money — harking back to legislation to stimulate the economy in the New Deal era. By creating sustainable systems, the US can position itself for long term growth that is supported by clean energy and efficient infrastructure. Action on climate change can no longer be pushed to the sidelines. It is time to take the action needed to reinvigorate our economy and re-power our energy sources.