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Proposed Legislation

Congress is debating legislation to implement a federal cap and trade program for greenhouse gas emissions and create new energy development and energy efficiency initiatives.

U.S. House of Representatives Activity:

On June 26, 2009, H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACESA) was voted out of the U.S. House of Representatives. This 1,200 page comprehensive climate and energy bill passed the House by a vote of 219-212.

The bill creates a mandatory economy-wide cap and trade program to regulate emissions of greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulfur hexafluoride, perfluorocarbons, nitrogen trifluoride and certain hydrofluorocarbons. This program requires reductions in emissions 17% below 2005 levels by 2020 and 83% below 2005 levels by 2050.

ACESA also includes many programs to:

  • require up to 20% of electricity production to be from renewable sources,
  • increase energy efficiency for buildings, appliances and industry,
  • increase investment in renewable energy,
  • enhance development of carbon capture and sequestration technology, and
  • provide assistance to low-income families and workers impacted by the provisions of the bill.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the cap and trade provisions of ACESA could directly affect more than 7,000 facilities nationwide. The report found that the bill could increase federal revenues by about $846 billion and increase direct spending by about $821 billion. View the Congressional Budget Office's cost estimate for ACESA

Many other bills have been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Search for additional detail on these and other bills of interest.

U.S. Senate Activity:

The American Power Act was introduced by Senator John Kerry and Senator Joseph Lieberman on May 12, 2010. This bill proposes reducing greenhouse gas emissions 17% by 2020 and 80% by 2050. In the bill, carbon emissions by electric utilities and manufacturers would be capped, but the bill includes a “hard price collar” to keep carbon prices between $12 and $25 per ton of carbon. Electric utilities would be subject to a carbon cap from the beginning of the program. A cap on emissions from manufacturers would be phased in by 2016. Agriculture emissions would be exempt from the cap on emissions. The bill also provides for consumer rebates, with two-thirds of the revenue generated from selling pollution allowances being returned back to consumers.

Learn more information about this bill.

The Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act was introduced on September 30, 2009 by Senator Barbara Boxer and Senator John Kerry. The bill sets economy wide emission reduction goals with specific targets of 20% emissions below 2005 levels by 2020 and 83% less emissions by 2050. The bill creates a cap and trade type program, Pollution Reduction and Investment, to work towards this goal. According to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, the system would only apply to an initial 7,500 facilities in the country.

  • Additional provisions of the bill include:

  • enhanced transportation efficiency and emissions standards;
  • development of carbon capture and sequestration programs;
  • support for water and energy efficiency efforts; training, research and funding for the renewable energy sector;
  • and climate change adaptation provisions.

View the text of the bill.

View the Senate Energy and Public Works Committee summary and information on this proposal.

The U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted the American Clean Energy Leadership Act out of committee on June 17, 2009. This comprehensive energy legislation includes programs for:

  • increasing the use of renewable energy sources,
  • supporting clean energy technologies,
  • energy enhancement for buildings, appliances and industry, and
  • development of additional energy sources.

View complete information from the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee regarding this legislation.

See what Senate Committee hearings are scheduled.