Are You a Member of a Protected Class? Who Is Going to Get Free Allowances Under the Climate Bill?

Congressmen Waxman and Markey today released their proposal for allocating allowances under a cap-and-trade program. At least 15 different categories of entities will receive a piece of the allowance pie. Here’s the list:

Local Distribution Companies –                           30%

Merchant Coal and PPAs –                                      5%    

Natural Gas Distribution Companies –                   9%

States (for home heating oil users) –                     1.5%

Low/moderate income households –                   15%

Energy intensive / trade-exposed industries –    15%

Domestic oil refiners –                                          2%                                                     

Carbon capture / sequestration –                          2%    

Renewable Energy / energy efficiency –             10%

Advanced automobile technology –                       3%

Research and development –                                1%

Tropical deforestation / offsets –                         5%

Domestic adaption –                                             2%

International adaptation/technology transfer –    2%

Worker assistance / job training –                        0.5%

If you think that this adds to more than 100%, you are correct, though it is also true that these numbers vary over time. Most significantly, the first four items above would phase out in the period from 2026.

What’s notable here? The total amount of allowances allocated to LDCs and merchant generators is about what was expected, but of that 35%, the merchant generators may have expected to get more than they did.  We’ll see how the coal industry responds to this proposal. 

The phase-out period is almost certainly more generous than environmentalists expected or hoped for, and is evidence that the vote counters did not believe that the votes would be there for the bill otherwise.  For allowances to utilities and power producers not to begin to phase out until 2026 would be a major victory for the industry.

Obviously, this is not the end; we’ll see over the next few days how the Waxman-Markey proposal is received. The bill itself is scheduled for release later today.

(If the percentages in the columns aren’t justified, blame our blog host; I just couldn’t make it work and still get this done this century.)

One thought on “Are You a Member of a Protected Class? Who Is Going to Get Free Allowances Under the Climate Bill?

  1. Great closing parenthetical. I bet there are a lot of interest groups that don’t think the percentages are justified.

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