The House of Representatives narrowly passed H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 by a vote of 219-212 on Friday, June 26. The bill, the first piece of major legislation on global warming that has passed either house of Congress, is 1,428 pages long, and includes 5 titles covering everything from renewable energy and efficiency to adaptation and transitioning to a clean energy economy. While it retains many key concepts from the draft introduced by Representatives Henry Waxman and Edward Markey, some of revisions and additions that ensured its passage were significant and have generated controversy as the sponsors made certain compromises in order to reach a majority.
Attention now turns to the Senate, which, according to statements by key committee members and Obama Administration officials, will likely not reach a vote on global warming legislation until this fall, at the earliest. Should the Bill fail to pass in the Senate, greenhouse gas emissions may still be regulated through other methods, such as state and regional climate change initiatives and possibly direct regulation by the EPA through the Clean Air Act, under its endangerment finding.
For more details on the bill and an in depth analysis of the Cap-and-Trade title, please take a look at our recent client alert.