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Energy Bill

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Jim Matheson Washington � President Barack Obama reportedly pulled aside members of Congress from their summer luau to lobby for passage of an historic energy bill that limits the pollutants companies can put into the air.

But one Democrat who opposes the so-called cap-and-trade bill, Rep.

Jim Matheson of Utah, escaped unscathed.

"They weren't browbeating me over this vote," Matheson said Friday as the House passed 219-212 without his support, the massive bill that aims at shifting the country away from carbon-emitting energy sources.

"I really have not received pressure for this floor vote at all." Matheson joined Utah Republican Reps.

Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz in voting against the bill.

Matheson, one of 44 Democrats who voted against the measure, says he made his objections known to the White House and fellow Democrats.

"We've got to address climate change, and we've got to address energy independence," Matheson said.

"I hope we continue to work on those two issues." But the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 isn't structured in the right way, he said, and would unfairly impact Utah.

The Pacific Northwest, for example, will benefit from its hydroelectric power usage while Utah's coal-produced electricity will bear the brunt of the bill.

"There's a real regional income transfer that's not fair to some regions of the country," Matheson said.

"In this Advertisementcase, it's not fair to Utah." Matheson had similarly voted against the bill in committee.

Chaffetz was also angered at the process, especially when Democrats couldn't produce a copy of the 1,500-page bill before the vote.

"This is potentially the single largest tax increase in the history of America," Chaffetz said, arguing the costs associated with trading energy will be passed on to consumers.

"As much as want a green, environmentally friendly future, this is the wrong way to go about it.

It's going to tax and punish people." [email protected]
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