GOP Reps. Reichert and McMorris Rodgers Have Climate Change Proposals of Their Own

By Chris Kissel June 11, 2009

Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA), Washington State's leading voice in the House of Representatives on climate change, has been  busy this year, hammering out the comprehensive climate bill he co-authored. But as the Inslee-infused American Clean Energy and Security Act continues to coast through the House on its way to a floor vote, Reps. Dave Reichert (R-WA,8) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA, 5) are challenging two of Inslee's pet issues in their own climate change proposals.

Reichert's bill, which he introduced with Reps. Ron Kind (D-WI, 3), Daniel Lipinski (D-IL, 3), and Bob Inglis (R-SC, 4), is tiny, barely two pages, and demands only that "any Federal climate change legislation that is signed into law shall return to the American people all proceeds."

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) is working on a similar proposal to Rep. Reichert's called "cap and dividend," which would mandate the return of funds to energy consumers (Cantwell's office told PubliCola today that the Senator is still in the process of drafting her bill, and the proprosal wasn't included in energy legislation Cantwell's energy committee introduced today).

The rebate approach is popular, and reportedly even Obama budget advisor Peter Orszag is on board. But Inslee's office has been clear to PubliCola that Inslee doesn't support the 100 percent rebate idea—he wants revenue to be reinvested in research on renewable energy. "He thinks you can do both; it's all just a matter of proportions," Inslee spokeswoman Torie Brazitis told PubliCola. "Investments back into renewable energy development will stimulate the economy and help get us the technology we need to meet national goals."

McMorris Rodgers' proposal is similarly straightforward. She successfully added language into the Republicans' own climate bill , which allows hydroelectricity to count as a renewable, citing it as a victory for her dam-heavy Eastern Washington district. "During these tough economic times, we can't be saying "no" to any type of energy," said McMorris Rodgers spokesman Destry Henderson.

Inslee argued against counting hydro--and won out--during the mark up session for the Democrats' climate bill, citing the need to promote other (new) resources. The argument is the same one he made when pushing I-937, Washington State's renewable energy program, which doesn't count hydropower toward renewable goals.

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