President Obama praised House Democrats today for “extraordinary progress” in their negotiations on global warming and energy legislation at the center of his domestic agenda.

So reports Greenwire (subs. req’d) today:

“I want to take a moment, before I start talking about health care, just to congratulate Chairman [Henry] Waxman and the Energy and Commerce Committee Democrats, who’ve made such extraordinary progress in reaching a deal on comprehensive energy reform and climate legislation,” Obama told reporters at the White House.

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“This is a major step forward in building the kind of clean energy economy that will reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil,” the president added.

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Obama repeated his clarion call for action:

“I once again call on Congress to send me legislation that places a market-based cap on carbon pollution, which will then drive and incent for the kind of innovation and dynamic, new, clean energy economy that can create jobs and new businesses all across America,” he said. “So this is an example of the extraordinary productivity that we’re seeing over in the House right now.”

Joe “regulating CO2 could ‘close down the New York and Boston marathons’ ” Barton declares war on it:

Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, predicted a fierce battle during next week’s markup. “We will never surrender on any cap-and-trade proposal,” he told reporters today. “If they take cap and trade off the table, everything else is negotiable.”

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And Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope issued this statement:

Chairmen Waxman and Markey have done heroic work in reaching agreement on the Energy and Commerce Committee around a comprehensive clean energy and climate plan, a critically important milestone that has faced seemingly insuperable obstacles. Their leadership has been truly remarkable.  But it is clear that Big Oil, Big Coal and other polluters are still holding out for a Congressional bailout. They will continue to try to riddle this legislation with loopholes, water it down, and load it up with hundreds of billions of dollars in giveaways. They don’t want it to deliver a recovery fueled by the clean energy jobs that America needs.

“These polluters are trying to strangle the clean energy economy in its cradle, steal the benefits of the clean energy future from the American people, and keep us addicted to oil and dirty coal. As this bill moves through the many remaining steps in the legislative process, we will work to strengthen this bill, so that it meets President Obama’s challenge to Congress and the American people. Only a bill which accomplishes these three things can really jumpstart the green recovery, build the clean energy future, and end our addiction to oil and coal:

  • Dramatically ramp up America’s transition to cleaner, cheaper energy sources like wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal
  • Close the carbon pollution loophole and make polluters pay for the carbon pollution they emit
  • Slash energy waste in order to cut emissions quickly and cheaply, while saving consumers money on their energy bills

I hope the final bill is one that Sierra Club can support.