- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Obama administration did some Earth Day lobbying on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, seeking support for an expansive climate-change bill that would curb carbon emissions while dancing around questions about how businesses would pay for the permits to emit carbon dioxide under the plan.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood lauded the draft climate bill being debated by House lawmakers this week, saying it achieves President Obama’s goals of spurring renewable energy projects and addressing the dangers of global warming.

Related article: Breathing easier on Earth Day

We must state in no uncertain terms we have a reponsibility to our children to curb emissions from fossil fuels, which have begun to change our climate, Mr. Chu told members of the House Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment.

Republican leaders set up a round-the-clock press operation this week to fight against the so-called cap-and-trade plan, which places a cap on greenhouse gasses and requires that companies buy permits for each ton of carbon dioxide they emit.

Republicans and Democrats both support the efforts of employers and employees devoted to new, cleaner sources of energy, but cap-and-trade is not the answer, House Minority Leader John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, said.

Although Democratic leaders have moved quickly to hold hearings on the climate plan, one of the most important details - how businesses would buy carbon permits under a so-called cap-and-trade plan - has yet to be detailed.

Democratic lawmakers have touted an EPA analysis released Tuesday, which estimates that carbon permits would be sold for between $13 and $17 for each ton of carbon dioxide emitted but does not explicitly detail whether businesses would be given the permits or would have to pay to buy some or all of the allowances.

How were you able to do that analysis while the bill has no allocation cost scheme in it? Rep. Joe Barton, Texas Republican and the top-ranking minority member on the energy panel, asked Mrs. Jackson.

We had to make assumptions, Mrs. Jackson replied.

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