Key Senators, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.), told the Wall Street Journal that the climate and energy bill will have to wait while the Senate tackles bills aimed at reforming the nation’s health insurance system and financial market regulation.
The proposed cap-and-trade legislation has drawn harsh opposition from Republican lawmakers and industry groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Petroleum Institute that say it will increase energy costs and harm the economy.
News of a delay until next year leaves the Obama Administration bereft of legislation it hoped to present in December at a United Nations climate summit in Copenhagen to craft an agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol .
The Environmental Protection Agency has moved on its own to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act, but has yet to formulate standards for enforcement. The EPA program is expected to cover 70 percent of the nation’s total emissions, including power plants, refineries, and cement production facilities that emit at least 25,000 tons of greenhouse gases a year.
But the EPA may well face years of legal battles over regulating greenhouse gases, which could lead the agency to look to Congress to pass a bill.