The results of next month’s election will help determine prospects for climate change and energy legislation in Congress next year. No matter the outcome, Tennessee will be at the crossroads of the debate.

green_globe_2The results of next month’s election will help determine prospects for climate change and energy legislation in Congress next year. No matter the outcome, Tennessee will be at the crossroads of the debate.

The stakes are high for Tennessee, which is trying to grow the clean-energy sector of its economy. In addition, the state could be more vulnerable than most to efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions tied to climate change.

Failure to enact legislation to limit such emissions represents a key setback for the Democratic Congress and the White House.

The House passed an energy bill in June 2009 that included a cap-and-trade approach to reducing emissions. At its core, the plan would have driven up the price of carbon fuels as a way to force changes in personal behavior and business practices.

Lawmakers voted 219-212 to pass the bill, with only eight Republicans voting yes and 44 Democrats voting no. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Brentwood, along with Democratic Reps. Lincoln Davis of Pall Mall and John Tanner of Union City voted against the bill, while Democratic Reps. Bart Gordon of Murfreesboro and Jim Cooper of Nashville voted for it.

The full Senate never acted on the measure, and with Republicans likely to take control of the House, prospects for climate change legislation appear poor. President Barack Obama seems resigned to attacking climate change without a major bill from Congress.

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Source: Bill Theobald | The Tennessean