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House climate bill was flooded with last-minute changes

House climate bill was flooded with last-minute changesMany provisions were narrowly focused to help certain industries. Expect

more of the same in the Senate.(By Jim Tankersley via LATimes.com)Less than 24 hours before the House

approved its landmark energy and climate bill last month, Rep. Ed

Perlmutter (D-Colo.) got several paragraphs added to the 1,200-page measure

-- additions expected to be worth millions of dollars to companies that

install solar panels.About the same time, Rep. Melissa Bean (D-Ill.) took the lead in adding

another little-noticed provision to the legislation -- a section designed

to prevent regulatory action she said could shut down the

multitrillion-dollar market for over-the-counter derivatives, a complex

type of financial instrument.These narrowly focused amendments were part of a torrent written into the

bill during the wheeling and dealing that took place as Democratic leaders

rounded up the votes needed to squeak out a victory.There were about 300 pages of last-minute amendments, many designed to make

money for industries and constituencies important to fence-sitting

lawmakers.The bill that passed the House included sweeteners for developing

natural-gas-powered cars and energy-efficient mobile homes, plus financial

rewards for early participants in the Chicago Climate Exchange, North

America's first trading center for greenhouse gas emissions.Surprisingly for a climate bill, there was also a provision making it

harder to develop the vast wind-power potential of states like North Dakota

-- a key element in President Obama's strategy to fight global warming.Some of the provisions could be tweaked or killed in the Senate. But more

likely, analysts said, more will sprout as Democratic leaders and the White

House strive to build a majority on that side of Capitol Hill.Making deals to get votes is a time-honored part of the legislative game,

but the enormous scale of the climate bill and the pressure to act quickly

in a time of economic crisis put the process on steroids."We started hearing about deal-making before the bill came to the House for

debate, but then it blossomed," said Rep. Joe L. Barton of Texas, the top

Republican on the energy and commerce committee and a critic of the

legislation.Obama indicated he would accept the grab bag of added provisions so long as

they did not undermine the bill's core goals of curbing global warming,

spurring renewable energy production and efficiency, and creating "clean

energy" jobs."There are going to be provisions in the House bill and in the Senate bill

which I question, in terms of their effectiveness," Obama told a group of

energy reporters in the Oval Office after the legislation passed. "I'm not

going to have a line-item veto, so ultimately, you know, I'll take a look

at the final product."The centerpiece of the climate bill is establishing specific limits on

heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions from major pollution sources such as

power plants and factories. To comply with the limits, which would tighten

over time, emitters would be required to obtain permits or pay to offset

their emissions by funding tree-planting or other means of soaking up

carbon dioxide.The system, called cap and trade, would impose new costs on some parts of

the economy but open profit opportunities for others. For example, a recent

analysis by the investment group Goldman Sachs projects that the U.S.

emissions trading market could generate as much as $400 million a year in

trading fees.Perlmutter, the Colorado Democrat, used his seat on the rules committee to

insert loan guarantees and a variety of other incentives for home energy

efficiency and so-called distributed power generation -- in-home sources of

electricity such as solar panels.He also added language to prevent homeowners associations and real estate

covenants from banning construction of solar panels on the roofs of houses.John Berger, chief executive of Houston-based St