But in recent years, cap and trade failed when Democrats controlled the Senate and the House. Moreover, Republicans argued the legislation was not a truly market-driven mechanism. It would have auctioned off pollution allowances to companies, raising money for the government to help offset higher energy bills and invest in cleaner energy technologies.
Republicans wanted a system that would distribute the allowances for free, letting the private market determine their value. That's how it worked with acid rain.
Republicans have not abandoned the notion of environmental protection, although the presidential primary rhetoric — all geared to more drilling and energy production — could lead one to think so.
Associated Press writers Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Dina Cappiello and Tom Raum contributed to this report.
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