WASHINGTON – Barack Obama plans to include in his 2010 budget the introduction of a massive energy cap-and-trade system designed to raise $300 billion a year for the federal government in a bid to get industry to curtail emissions of so-called “greenhouse gases.”

The plan would force companies to buy permits from the government for greenhouse gas emissions above a certain cap.

Acknowledging that businesses would have no choice but to pass their costs on to customers, resulting in skyrocketing utility bills for homeowners and offices, the administration is pledging to redistribute most of the revenue back to in the form of government relief.

The remaining revenues would cover his proposals for $15 billion a year in spending and tax incentives to develop alternative energy sources, administration sources say.

During the presidential election campaign, Obama proposed placing such heavy government fees on coal plants that the industry would either have to clean its emissions or go “bankrupt.”

“If somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can,” Obama said in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle. “It’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.”

Obama also said during the campaign that he planned to use “price signals” to control America’s energy use.

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