And the Senate Climate Bill Gets Weaker Still . . .
As expected, the Kerry-Lieberman climate bill has grown weaker still, relinquishing an economy-wide cap on carbon emissions and instead targeting only the utility sector for greenhouse gas reductions starting in 2013. And that's still apparently too controversial for this Senate, as the conventional wisdom says not even a utility-only bill can get enough votes to pass. So here's what evidently remains of the mess that's left on the table in terms of clean energy and climate legislation this year: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says that he plans to move energy legislation in the Senate later this month, but has as of yet not endorsed any particular legislation (there are a number of other proposals, including toothless 'energy-only' bills, up for consideration).
The White House continues to say it wants energy legislation this year, this summer, and is pushing for action before Congress goes to recess in August. Democratic leaders gathered at the White House today to discuss a roadmap for energy policy, though the specifics of that meeting are as of yet unknown.
The New York Times reports further on the incoming energy legislation plans:
Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader, announced Tuesday that he will send a four-part package to the floor the week of July 26.As Reuters notes, that bill has been largely scaled back from the original. It's not clear if that bill will be adopted as part of Reid's push, or if elements of it will be incorporated into the piecemeal energy plans.
Mr. Reid said the legislation would include a response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, promote more energy efficiency, develop more clean energy production and try to curb greenhouse gases from power plants. Senators John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts, and Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut, are seeking to build support for a bill that would impose limits on emissions only on the electric utility industry, rather than the economy as a whole.
Needless to say, this is pretty dispiriting. Even in the midst of the largest environmental disaster -- directly caused by our reliance on fossil fuels -- the Democrats seemingly can't figure out a way to move clean energy legislation. Sigh.