A major obstacle of the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 appears to have been removed, as House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., announced that he and Energy Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., have reached an agreement that works for agriculture and contributes to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.
"The climate change bill will include a strong agriculture offset program run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that will allow farmers, ranchers, and forestland owners to participate fully in a market-based carbon offset program," said Peterson. "This agreement also addresses concerns about international indirect land use provisions that unfairly restricted U.S. biofuels producers and exempts agriculture and forestry from the definition of a capped sector."
It has been thought by many that a favorable vote on the legislation was unlikely until an agreement was reached by Peterson and Waxman. Even prior to the announcement, there was speculation about a vote occurring as early as Friday, the date that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has been pushing for.
However several key bills are standing in the way of the bill reaching the floor this week. Among them are appropriation bills for Homeland Security and Interior-Environment as well as a defense authorization bill. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., says he has not reached a time agreement with Republicans, who could use delay tactics to prolong debate on the spending bills and throw the schedule on energy legislation into doubt.