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Senate climate bill to be unveiled April 26

April 15, 2010


A long-awaited compromise bill to reduce U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases blamed for global warming will be unveiled by a group of senators on April 26, sources said today.
The legislative language to be sketched out in 11 days, according to government and environmental sources, is being drafted by Democratic Senator John Kerry, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and independent Senator Joseph Lieberman.   Backers of the environmental bill hope the unveiling will pave the way for the full Senate to debate and pass a measure in June or July if the compromise attracts enough support from a group of moderate Republicans and Democrats.
President Obama has made climate change one of his top priorities and has taken steps recently to show Republicans he is serious, including expanding federal aid for building nuclear power facilities and allowing more domestic offshore oil drilling — initiatives to be included in the Senate compromise.
Like the House-passed bill and Obama administration policy, the bill would set a target of 17 percent reductions in smokestack emissions of carbon dioxide by 2020, from 2005 levels.

But, a Senate source told Reuters that the legislation would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating carbon dioxide emissions. As a result, state and regional carbon-trading programs, such as the one several Northeastern states participate in, would be ended and replaced by a national carbon reduction policy.

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (or RGGI), has 10 participating states from Vermont to Maryland, and raised over $582 million for state efficiency and climate programs, according to Environment Northeast, a Boston research group.
Once the senators formally sketch out their bill on April 26, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid will decide the next steps in a year crowded with competing legislative priorities and congressional elections in November.
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