Cap-and-trade intends to limit greenhouse gasses.

Cap-and-trade intends to limit greenhouse gasses.

WASHINGTON DC – A national energy bill that was approved Friday (June 26, 2009) in the House, but which lacked support from local elected officials who derided it a job-killing tax, now moves on to the Senate where it faces much tougher going, Reuters News Service reported.

Both area congressmen – Rep. Jim Gerlach, whose 6th District includes Limerick (PA) Township, and Rep. Charlie Dent, whose 15th District includes Lower Pottsgrove (PA) Township – voted against House Bill H.R. 2454, better known as the cap-and-trade legislation. The bill would limit, and charge companies for, the amount of carbon emissions their businesses produce. It also would allow companies to trade and sell emissions credits.

The bill is intended to help reduce pollution and atmospheric greenhouse gases believed to cause global warming. Dent, however, cited comments by members of the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission who claim the program’s cost would be “staggering.” Gerlach said it would hike the price of electric, natural gas, gasoline and other fuels.

Three-quarters of Americans believe the government should regulate the release of greenhouse gases, Reuters said last week, as it reported the results of a Washington Post-ABC News poll. But it added that far fewer people in the poll, 52 percent, support the cap-and-trade approach.

Dent pointed out that cap-and-trade, if ultimately passed, could have a disproportionately negative effect on Pennsylvanians. With public utility rate caps expiring across the state next year, electric bills are already expected to rise substantially. Cap and trade will only magnify the problem, Dent claimed.