The American Clean Energy and Security Act


On Friday, June 26th, the US House of Representatives narrowly passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act (or the Waxman-Markey Bill), a move being hailed a huge victory for the Obama administration. Like any major environmental bill, however, this act has faced serious criticism from Democrats and Republicans alike. And, like most pollution legislation, lawmakers have pitted the environment against the economy, an impossible choice for the American public. Here, ENN has decoded the American Clean Energy and Security Act so that you may make your own conclusions about the ramifications of its passing.

What It Provides For:

  • The EPA will be placed in charge of cap-and-trade programs, one for greenhouse gasses and one for hydroflourocarbons.
  • For the first time, regulatory agencies will be able to enforce greenhouse gas reductions.
  • An electric vehicle “infrastructure” is a goal, and offices have been created to aid the completion of this initiative.
  • Government agencies have been formulated in order to promote energy efficient appliances and easy access to them.
  • There will be monetary rewards for energy innovation and conservation at electric and thermal energy facility facilities
  • Emissions allowances will be enacted
  • An energy refund program will take effect to aid low- income families adversely affected by the costs of the act.
  • An action plan and government body will be formed to prepare for the negative health impacts of climate change

Probable PROs of the American Clean Energy and Security Act:

  • Forced innovation, invention, and investment in new green technologies, will make America a leader in green technology.
  • Reduction of US dependence on foreign oil.
  • Creation of US- based jobs and economic stimuli.

Probable CONs of the American Clean Energy and Security Act:

  • Potential for a tax burden on the American middle and upper classes.
  • A rise in the cost of energy on production, which will likely cause a financial burden on consumers.
  • An increased exportation of jobs overseas to countries without pollution standards (and the economic ramifications of US unemployment).

What do you think? Is the American Clean Energy and Security Act a positive change in environmental legislation or is it simply the summation of good intentions but bad ideas?

by M. Molendyke

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