The Ever-Shrinking Energy Bill

Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry has argued that a price cap—even if it"s initially only levied against electric utilities—is essential to moving clean energy forward.© kerry.senate.gov

In the hope of getting some form of energy legislation passed before the Senate recess in August, a scaled-back energy bill is being pushed by Senate Democrats and the White House. If they can’t pass meaningful legislation by August, it’s unlikely they"ll pass it this fall when senators will be focused on their reelection campaigns. After attempting to use the Gulf oil spill to drive home the need for energy legislation, Senate Democrats, backed by President Obama, are weakening measures proposed in the original energy bill proposal, hoping to attract Republican votes and move some form of environmental legislation forward.

The new bill would include limits on carbon emissions from power plants, but no similar caps on other industries. Other major measures include response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the promotion of energy-efficiency measures and the development of renewable energy technologies. Still, it remains a hard sell. Republicans in the Senate still roundly oppose any type of carbon cap, as do some Democrats—particularly those from coal-rich states. They argue that any cap on utilities will raise prices for consumers.

Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry has argued that a price cap—even if it’s initially only levied against electric utilities—is essential to moving clean energy forward. "The leadership is committed to bringing a bill to the floor in the next few weeks," Kerry says in a release, "and we"ll be working with the President to make sure we pass that bill."

SOURCE: New York Times.

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