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Senators Unveil Outline of Climate Bill

In a closed-door meeting with industry groups today, the three senators crafting climate legislation revealed the broad strokes of their bill and met with general approval. E&E News (sub. req’d.) reports:

Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) shared an eight-page outline of their draft legislation that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next four decades, including provisions to limit business costs while ramping up domestic production of oil, gas and nuclear power.

According to several sources in the meeting room, the bill calls for greenhouse gas curbs across multiple economic sectors, with a 2020 target of reducing emissions by 17 percent below 2005 levels and an 80 percent limit at midcentury. Power plant emissions would be regulated in 2012, with other major industrial sources being phased in starting in 2016.

Lest environmental advocates get overly excited, the bill contains some major concessions to industry. Five of its eight titles — Refining, America’s Farmers, Coal, Natural Gas and Nuclear — will make green activists a bit wary. And E&E adds this tidbit:

In a bow to industry demands, the senators’ proposal would pre-empt U.S. EPA climate regulations under the Clean Air Act and halt dozens of state climate laws and regulations now on the books.

Not surprisingly, business and industry groups were fairly encouraged by today’s presentation. Here’s what the top lobbyist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce told The Hill:

“The fairest comment would be, directionally speaking, the way they are trying to conform and shape this bill I would suggest is largely in sync with what most people in American industry think is the direction you are going to have to go if you are going to have a successful program,” Josten said.

Kerry says the tripartisan climate team will deliver a full outline of the bill to a larger group of senators next Tuesday.

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