WASHINGTON (AP) â€” A fight within the Democratic Party over control of the House Energy and Commerce Committee could influence the outcome of President-elect Obama's efforts to limit the heat-trapping gases blamed for global warming.
Obama has said he wants to act quickly on climate change. But crucial bipartisan support could be tested if liberal California Rep. Henry Waxman succeeds at unseating Chairman John Dingell of Michigan, the panel's top Democrat for 28 years and a key ally of automakers and electric utilities.
The winner will be at the helm of a panel that will spearhead a bill to cap greenhouse gases and establish a multibillion-dollar market in carbon dioxide, with companies buying and selling the right to pollute.
Last month Dingell and Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Va., unveiled a draft global warming bill based on dozens of hearings and white papers for reducing greenhouse gases by 80 percent by 2050 â€” a reduction in line with what Obama has proposed.
Environmentalists and some liberal Democrats, however, see Dingell as an obstacle to stricter fuel economy standards for cars and trucks and cleaner fuels also advocated by Obama.
They see in Waxman, whose district includes Beverly Hills, an opportunity to push through a more ambitious environmental agenda now that Democrats have expanded their majorities in Congress and will take over the White House.
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