The $100 Billion Pollution Honeypot

carbon emissions tbi

Surprise, suprise, there aren’t enough get-out-of-jail-free cards.

To pass cap-and-trade, Congress is giving pollution permits to companies who would be unduly hurt by the legilation. But of course there’s not enough to go around.

Bloomberg reports that some of the largest electricity companies, big boys like Duke Energy Corp. and AEP, are fighting with local, not-for-profit cooperatives — which depend heavily on carbon-emitting coal to fire their plants — over the free passes.

It’s a big pot: the carbon-dioxide permit market being shaped in the Senate now could be worth more than $100 billion a year by 2020, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The cooperatives say the deal would create profits for larger companies like nuclear-power providers Constellation Energy Group and Entergy Corp. because they would be less likely to pass the benefits of free permits to customers.

Bottom line: A scheme designed to limit carbon emission is becoming an old fashioned fight over who gets government dollars.

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