Federal Policy

Climate Change Bill (Waxman-Markey)

Waxman-Markey Section 222 (as approved by House)

Introduced by Representative Waxman and Representative Markey on May 15, 2009, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 has seen many revisions and amendments during its life with the authors’ intentions of creating clean energy jobs, achieving energy independence, reducing global warming pollution and transitioning to a clean energy economy.  On Friday, June 26th the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2454 by a vote of 219-212.

Within the 1200+ page Waxman-Markey bill, there are fortunately only nine pages that are particularly noteworthy for the topic of greenhouse gas reductions through metropolitan planning.  Section 222 of the bill amends section 841 of the Clean Air Act to include greenhouse gas emissions reductions through transportation efficiency.  At a hearing on May 19th, Representative Matsui brought her bill – Smart Planning for Smart Growth Act (H.R. 1780) –  to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce seeking a commitment from Chair Waxman to work with the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee regarding Section 222.  The June 5th version of the Waxman-Markey bill included a comprehensive outline for achieving greenhouse gas reductions through metropolitan planning – including funding for modeling efforts, plan development and implementation, and an exhaustive list of transportation and land use planning strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  However, at 3am the same day the House approved the bill (26 June 2009), 300 pages of amendments to Waxman-Markey were released.

The Matsui-influenced version of Section 222 was replaced with draft language from the Surface Transportation Authorization Act of 2009, which Chairman Oberstar’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee released four days prior to the House passage of Waxman-Markey.  Unfortunately Matsui’s comprehensive language pertaining to the real needs of local and regional government was replaced by a section in Oberstar which carries vague language yet to be flushed out while Waxman-Markey is worked through the Senate side with Senator Boxer’s Committee on the Environment and Public Works.