Minutes after Senate aides briefed reporters on the details of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) energy bill, disappointed interest groups — both from the renewable and oil industry — began picking the legislation apart.
The American Wind Energy Association, the wind industry’s trade group, said it would continue to push for a renewable energy standard in the bill, despite clear statements from Reid and his staff that a bill that included an RES would not pass. Denise Bode, AWEA’s CEO, said in a statement:
We have 60 votes for an RES amendment and will continue to push for its consideration in this bill. Senator Brownback’s statements about the RES demonstrate the bipartisan support that exists for such an amendment. Democrats, Republicans, environmental groups, labor unions, and companies across the country all strongly support the RES because it is essential for creating hundreds of thousands of American jobs, reducing carbon emissions, and increasing American independence from foreign oil.
And the American Petroleum Institute, the powerful oil industry trade association, honed in on a provision in the bill that would remove a $75 million cap on liability for economic damages from a spill. (An environmentalist told TWI earlier today that this provision would be the biggest sticking point in the debate on the bill.) From API President Jack Gerard, in a statement:
While full details of the Senate bill are not yet available, the liability provision sticks out as a jobs killer. Requiring an unattainable level of insurance coverage for domestic energy producers on the Outer Continental Shelf will force the vast majority of American companies out of U.S. waters, according to insurers. This would cut domestic production, kill American jobs, slow economic growth and cost billions in federal oil and natural gas revenues.
On top of that, Republicans are already touting their alternative energy bill as a more realistic proposal. Robert Dillon, spokesperson for Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), criticized Democrats for painting Republican opposition as an obstacle to a more comprehensive bill.
Democrats continue to blame Republicans for “stalling” as the reason why Sen. Reid is unable to bring to the floor a more comprehensive energy bill. But the last time I checked it’s Sen. Reid who sets the agenda for the floor.
I would further point out that the bipartisan S.1462 ACELA was reported out of the Energy Committee a year ago. Reid could have taken it up at any time. We’ve been calling throughout the year for it to be considered, but it has been the majority leader who has stalled.
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