How many U.S. Congressmen and American voters have read all of the 1,480-page global warming bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives June 26 by seven votes? An extremely small group, I suppose. Usually labeled the “cap and trade” bill, the official name is the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES). The provisions on carbon caps cover only 400 pages of the text.

This massive bill was rushed through the House floor in less than six hours. Many members had not seen a 300-page amendment supposedly “available” at 3:00 a.m. on the day of passage. And many congressmen chuckled when asked if they read the bill or have a clear idea of the basic contents. Those laughing included the bill’s architect and author, Congressman Henry Waxman.

American voters should declare this attitude totally unacceptable lest this year’s pattern – overnight passage of trillion-dollar, thousand-page bills – becomes the norm.

Now in the U.S. Senate, ACES not only mandates aggressive carbon caps which will drive up the cost of fuel, electricity and basic goods, but also thousands of other dictates creating an unprecedented expansion of the federal government’s control of energy production and use. A senior lawyer for the Sierra Club referred to ACES as the most complex legislation in U.S. history. And elected representatives find actually reading such a monumental bill a joke?

Public discussion of health care reform has overshadowed needed attention to the global warming bill. The juggernaut that is ACES, however, begs for the light of day. If reading through the 1,480 pages of ACES is beyond the pale for most, consider a meaningful alternative. Look through the 10-page table of contents of ACES, available on the Government Printing Office website. It is perfect summer reading material: a template for EPA assisted living with rules to direct every moment of individual life. Forget the espionage thrillers. A cursory scan of the more than 500 section titles of ACES is an eye-opener and a jaw-dropper all in one.

– Kathleen Hartnett White