Inslee Proposals in New Climate Bill Already Sparking Trouble

By Chris Kissel May 15, 2009

The big, Inslee-infused climate bill President Obama and I have been waiting all session for was finally released Thursday, and as promised, I'm digging around to see how Rep. Jay Inslee's proposals, a major part of the legislation, have been reshaped and rewritten.

I haven't heard from Inslee's office this afternoon, so I can't say how his proposals limiting black carbon or low-efficiency fuel standards have fared. But his cap-and-trade proposal, the one I've been obsessed about, the one that gives away a certain amount of emissions permits for free, is already catching heat in the global warming debate from Democrats who are crucial to the bill's success.

At least a couple of Energy Committee Democrats, whose votes will be crucial for getting the bill passed out of committee by next week, are in a tizzy about exactly how many of those permits will be given away. The Wall Street Journal reports that some lawmakers, representing industry-heavy districts, will be reluctant to support the legislation until the amount of free emissions permits going their constituents' way is increased substantially.

The original Inslee proposal wasn't specific about the percentages of permits that would be free for certain industries, but the article says that in the released version of the bill, up to 75 percent of permits could be given out for free as certain industries, like the steel, wood product, and cement industries, adjust to new emissions standards.

Just two days earlier, the WSJ reported that the amount of free permits being given away under Inslee's cap plan is already too high. The amount of revenue the government planned on getting through the cap program would be significantly decreased if the free permits become a part of the final plan--levelling a significant negative impact on the national deficit.

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