Consensus By A Thousand Cuts
Environmentalist Henry Waxman and seeming global warming denier Collin Peterson are moving to an agreement on a climate and energy bill.
House Democrats are within sight of agreement on a comprehensive energy and global warming bill, but it is still unclear if they have satisfied enough rural and fiscal conservative lawmakers to guarantee the votes for floor passage by next week.
"I think we made some real progress," Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) told reporters yesterday as he left a meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.). "There's still black smoke going up. The white smoke, however, we might be able to send some up, but only after we have resolved these final issues. We made some real progress in that meeting. But it's not final yet."
Waxman described a "conceptual understanding that we're now looking at in more detail" with Peterson, adding that the work now rests on staff to come up with legislative language that could be unveiled as soon as today or Monday.
Peterson also sounded an optimistic note yesterday about the negotiations. "We got a couple things resolved," he told E&E. "They came up with a new idea that has good possibilities. We're going to take a look now and see if it works."
It doesn't look like a huge set of concessions, mainly on rural electricity and carbon allowances as well as the EPA ruling on biofuels (that's going to be near-impossible to dislodge, and it's a shame), but of course we've been nicking at this thing for a long time, taking away a little something here and a little something there. I still think we have a decent bill that's worth passing, particularly because of the job possibilities in the energy space - 1.7 million jobs looks pretty good right now. But it's a far cry from what's needed.