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The majority of those free allowances would go to electric and natural gas utilities to prevent sharp increases in energy prices to consumers and to industries that face import competition.

The bill would also create new incentives for clean-coal technology and for the expansion of nuclear power. The Environmental Protection Agency would also be allowed to regulate carbon-dioxide emissions using the Clean Air Act, if the legislation became law.

Numerous other greenhouse-gas reduction goals would be funded by the bill, including the expansion of public transit, forest conservation, renewable energy development and rebates to consumers to cover higher motor fuel prices.

Republicans on the environment committee boycotted drafting sessions called by Mrs. Boxer this week and were absent from the room Thursday when the final vote was held.

The committee’s ranking Republican, Sen. James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma, an avowed opponent of cap and trade who questions whether human activity is behind global warming, briefly appeared at the session to denounce the bill.

Moderate Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said she was disappointed with the way the bill was approved, which she called a mistake.

“It’s certainly going to make it much more difficult for people like me, who believe we need to have some sort of climate change legislation, to take seriously what the committee produced,” she said.

But Mrs. Boxer and other committee Democrats said it was clear that Republicans were not going to participate in drafting sessions and that Democrats were forced to pass the bill unilaterally. Democrats on the committee were unable to approve any amendments because a committee rule requires two members of the minority party to participate in drafting sessions.

Mrs. Boxer acted Thursday based on a Senate rule allowing a bill to be passed in committee by a simple majority and on a promise from Mr. Reid that a full economic impact study will be produced on the bill that he will propose for debate on the Senate floor.