Statement by David Hawkins, Director of Climate Programs at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)

On the discussion draft for comprehensive global warming legislation offered by the Chairman of the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee Rep. John Dingell, and Rep. Rick Boucher
We appreciate the thoughtful work that Chairman Dingell and Chairman Boucher have put into their discussion draft for comprehensive global warming legislation.  The draft outlines a range of options and we encourage the Energy and Commerce Committee to act to advance legislation as soon as possible.  As the release of this discussion draft makes evident, momentum continues to build in Congress for enactment of federal legislation to cap and reduce U.S. emissions of global warming pollution. 
“There are many positive features to the discussion draft, such as the inclusion of a strong reduction target for 2050 and thoughtful approaches to the details of the structure of a comprehensive program.  However, there are also many important respects in which the draft legislation must be improved.  Most notably, the near- and mid-term emission reduction targets must be substantially strengthened in order to avoid the worst effects of global warming.  We are also very concerned about provisions that would eliminate existing authority to regulate global warming pollution under the Clean Air Act and alter the rights and ability of states to combat global warming on their own. We believe the final legislation must preserve existing Clean Air Act authority and the ability of states to operate as innovation laboratories.  
“The bill needs to assure that the valuable pollution allowances created under the cap are used to achieve the maximum public benefit. What is needed are investments in clean technologies and in retooling American industries, and dividends that protect consumers, and help people and ecosystems adapt to global warming impacts that we cannot avoid.  
"We look forward to working with Chairman Dingell and Chairman Boucher, and with all the members of the Energy and Commerce Committee, to ensure enactment of sound, science-based legislation to halt global warming.  Release of the discussion draft represents a useful step forward in that respect and will help the next Congress to move quickly ahead to enact this long-overdue program to protect our climate and promote genuine economic recovery and energy security."