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--- Advertisment ---Update: Historic Energy Bill Clears Hurdle With Initial House VoteJune 26, 2009 1:26 p.m.

EST--- Advertisment ---Kris Alingod - AHN ContributorWashington, D.C.

(AHN) - House Democrats on Friday successfully pushed their energy bill to the full chamber floor for a possible final vote later in the day.

They voted to move the measure, which features a cap-and-trade system that limits greenhouse gases, for consideration despite not having a single Republican "aye."By 217-205, American Clean Energy and Security Act passed a key legislative hurdle.

Thirty Democrats joined 175 Republicans in opposing the measure.The legislation imposes a cap-and-trade system that will require companies to buy carbon emissions permits from the federal government.It also seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent in 2020, by 42 percent in 2030, and by 83 percent in 2050.Republicans, who also failed to block the Energy and Commerce Committee's endorsement of the bill last month, have said the bill will cost each American family $2,937.38 a year in a decade, and raise power rates by 90 percent.Farm state Democrats led by House Agriculture Committee chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN) had also raised concerns that provisions on an offset program providing credits to farmers who use environmentally sound practices, would be implemented primarily by the Environmental Protection Agency and not the Agriculture Department.But Peterson voted for the bill on Friday, following through with a reported compromise with Energy and Commerce panel chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA), who wrote the measure along with Environment Subcommittee chairman Edward Markey (D-MA).The bill is also facing enormous industry opposition, with the U.S.

Chamber of Commerce saying in a letter to lawmakers on Thursday, "The bill fails to ensure that an adequate amount of renewable or alternative energy sources are developed and deployed to compensate for the bill's declining cap on fossil fuel emissions.

Instead, it would impose 397 new regulations and 1060 new mandates on the American public."Earlier this month, the American Farm Bureau Federation warned that many farmers will not gain any credits under the offset program regardless if this is administered by the EPA or Agriculture Department."Most fruit, potato and vegetable producers will not qualify for offsets," AFBF president Bob Stallman said in testimony before Congress.

"Western ranchers whose operations are heavily dependent on the use of federal lands for livestock forage also have limited offset opportunities.

Many areas of the West in general that are coal-dependent are also the areas that have limited offset opportunities."President Barack Obama on Thursday had made an urgent appeal to undecided lawmakers in a speech from the White House, touting the bill more as a jobs bill than a climate change measure."I urge every member of Congress -- Democrat and Republican -- to come together to support this legislation," he said.

"I can't stress enough the importance of this vote.

I know this is going to be a close vote, in part because of the misinformation that's out there that suggests there's somehow a contradiction between investing in clean energy and our economic growth.""My call to those members of Congress who are still on the fence, as well as to the American people, is this: We cannot be afraid of the future, and we can't be prisoners of the past.

We've been talking about this issue for decades, and now is the time to finally act," he added.According to the Energy Committee, supporters of the bill include BP America, Caterpillar, Conoco, Dow Chemical GE, Johnson & Johnson, Shell and Siemens.Among community and environmental groups, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Nature Conservancy, Sierra Club, World Wildlife Fund, American Lung Association and Center for American Progress have given their support.View the discussion thread.Copyright � 2003 - 2009 AHN - All rights reserved.Redistribution, republication.

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