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Plans for Friday Hearing on Cap-and-Trade Scrapped

House Republicans' hopes for a hearing Friday to explore the costs of cap-and-trade legislation proposed by Reps. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Edward Markey (D-MA) were dashed when Democrats failed to provide the emission allocation language that Republicans had requested earlier in the week.

Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, the ranking Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, had asked Committee Chairman Waxman to provide the allocation language by the close of business Wednesday so that witnesses could review it to determine the cost of the proposed cap-and-trade bill in time for the Friday hearing.

In a letter to Barton Wednesday, Waxman and Markey said Democrats were "currently engaged in productive discussions with many members regarding these and other provisions and will share language when it is available." A Barton aide confirmed that no hearing would be held on Friday.

Barton noted that the issue of the cost of the proposed cap-and-trade legislation had not been reviewed in the 38 hearings that the committee has held. Even former Vice President Al Gore, the world's leading spokesman on the issue of global warming, was at a loss for words last week when asked to estimate the cost of the cap-and-trade legislation proposed by Waxman and Markey. "The former vice president is hardly alone in that respect. Neither he, nor we, nor the public have been let in on the secret of how much Waxman-Markey might cost," Barton said.

In a memo issued Monday, Waxman and Markey said they planned to schedule markup of the bill in the Energy and Environment Subcommittee next week. The draft Waxman-Markey bill would mandate an 83% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and calls for greater use of renewable energy sources in the generation of electricity.

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