- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Republican members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee called on Chairman Henry Waxman and other committee Democrats not to ram through a major bill on climate change this week.

The 23 Republican lawmakers said they were concerned that the bill’s measure to curb U.S. carbon emissions will not be fully vetted and asked for a hearing dedicated to the Environmental Protection Agency’s recent finding that carbon dioxide contributes to global warming.

Mr. Waxman and Mr. Markey, the Massachusetts Democrat who co-authored the bill and chairs a key subcommittee, hope to have a measure passed out of the committee by Memorial Day.

Mr. Markey is set to hold the first hearing on the measure Tuesday afternoon and has packed the week with testimony from Obama administration officials, business executives and former Vice President Al Gore.

While many of the bill’s provisions have been clearly detailed including plans to spur “clean coal” technology development and a mandate for purchasing renewable energy the key details of a plan to curb carbon emissions through a permit-trading program were left out of the bill.

“As an initial matter, we would note that your discussion draft lacks any decision on permit allocations versus auctions,” the Republican lawmakers wrote in the letter sent Tuesday to Mr. Waxman.

“The manner in which you will address the issue is the cornerstone of the legislation; without it the bill is simply not finished and not ripe to be marked up or accurately discussed in the context of a hearing.”

Democratic staff countered that there have been many opportunities to vet climate-change legislation this year, in multiple committees.

“In the last few months, the Energy and Commerce and Select Committees have held 14 hearings with 87 witnesses on clean energy and climate issues, not including the nine panels and dozens of witnesses from this week’s hearings,” said Eben Burnham-Snyder, a Markey spokesman.

“The total number of hearings on climate policy held by the Republicans in the eight years they were in control? Zero. We cannot wait to move forward on clean energy legislation any longer,” he added.

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