Advocates say energy bill too watered down to make a big difference

Henry Waxman, D-Calif., may not “have the nuts” to pass the American Clean Energy and Security Act (at least according to his GOP counterpart on the House Energy and Commerce Committee), but some Colorado environmentalists say the bill itself doesn’t have the teeth it needs to truly transform America’s energy infrastructure.

While being sure to carefully praise Waxman’s bill (H.R. 2454) as the full committee takes up debate on it this week, Denver-based Environment Colorado also issued a release saying the draft legislation is too watered down to make the meaningful changes necessary.

“Unfortunately, Big Oil, Dirty Coal, other polluters have been able to weaken the bill in ways that will delay the economic and environmental benefits of clean energy and miss the opportunity to make a real transition in the nation’s energy policy,” said Keith Hay, energy advocate for Environment Colorado

Specifically, Hay said the renewable electricity standard in the draft version won’t require the nation to use more renewable energy than what will be achieved through state standards already in place and investments from the stimulus bill.

Hay also said the bill allows polluters to purchase offsets rather than reduce their own pollution and that it falls short of requiring polluters to pay for their pollution through a carbon tax or cap-and-trade system. He urged Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., who serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee that Waxman chairs, to push hard to strengthen and pass the bill.

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