Democrats Relax House Emissions Bill

Attempt of win votes of Democrats whose states rely on coal or heavy industry.

House Democrats say they will scale back some of the most aggressive provisions of the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. The bill is designed to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The first draft called for a 20% reduction in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. Under the new agreement, the goal would be a 17% reduction. The compromise is designed to win the votes of fellow Democrats whose states rely on coal or heavy industry.

The basic structure of the bill remains unchanged: It calls for a "cap and trade" system. The "trade" part of the system would allow some polluters to buy pollution credits, from the government or from others, to cover their emissions. The changes permit some of the credits to be given out free and that 35% of those would be given to local electricity-distribution companies.

Also, the bill originally called for all states to get 25% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2025. Under the new version, the standard would be lowered to 15% by 2020, plus a requirement to reduce energy use by 5% by then through improved energy efficiency.

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