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Budget's commitment to cap-and-trade bemuses Dixie govs


The inclusion of revenues from a federal auction of all available carbon cap-and-trade credits in the President's budget, was decried by southern governors, meeting this past weekend in Williamsburg, Virginia, the Associated Press reports.

West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin III, right, along with Mississippi Gov.
Haley Barbour, second from right, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, second
from left, and Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, left, during the 2009
Southern Governors Association meeting in Williamsburg, Va.,
Monday, Aug. 24, 2009. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Cap-and-trade is the term used by the Environmental Protection Agency to indicate the credits heavy carbon emission polluters can buy from the government in exchange for the right to go beyond a predetermined cap on emmissions. Because the southern states get most of their electricity from coal fired power plants, they will be impacted unfairly by a cap-and-trade plan, the state executives say.

But the governors are not the only ones concerned about the impact of cap-and-trade at home. A bill out of the House of Representatives that passed in June, known as the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009,  offers 85 percent of available carbon credits - for free - to energy companies and other high pollution emitters. President Obama's budget update released Tuesday, however, counts on revenues from auctioning 100 percent of the permits.

"The White House is negotiating with Congress," said energy analyst Kevin Book, in an interview with Reuters. "They are making very clear where their initial stance is going to be, just as the Hill has made clear what their initial stance is going to be."

Three members of the Georgia Public Service Commission traveled to Washington, DC, on July 23, to sit down with members of the state's Congressional delegation. They reportedly told the handful of congressmen - and representatives of the two senators - that if they held tight to auctioning off all of the carbon credits, that "it could hurt our jobs."

PSC Chairman Doug Everett went on to explain to the group, that all the industries that Georgia commerce officials work to bring into the state will be impacted, paying higher utility rates, and hiring less personnel by 2020. "Unless this legislation is modified and revised," he said, "Georgians could see their electric utility bills go up by as much as $66 a month by 2020."

In his analysis of the difficulty the bill out of the House will have getting through the Senate, Ranking Agriculture Committee member, Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), complained last month that the initiative does not "reflect the realities of producing food, fiber, feed, and fuel in the United States and recognize the unique aspects of rural America."

Georgia is ranked the 11th highest emitter of CO2 in the entire US, according to Next Generation Earth, a climate change awareness group.

For more info: You can read all of the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (HR 2454), as it stands on the Senate calendar, on Thomas.
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