On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) outlined four components of the upcoming energy bill in the Senate: addressing the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, promoting clean energy, increasing energy efficiency, and limiting pollution from the power sector.
The new bill will include a combination of proposals that have emerged in the Senate over the past year, including safety measures for oil drilling, a national clean electricity standard, and incentives for clean technologies like electric vehicles and carbon capture and storage - all of which have broad support.
The most controversial component of the bill will be “limiting pollution from the power sector,” which alludes to two proposals currently being developed to cap carbon emissions from utilities. For months, it has been unclear whether the Senate would consider a measure to cap emissions this year, but Reid’s recent comments indicate that they will try.
“It’s time for all of us — politicians, business leaders and environmentalists — to put wishful thinking aside, establish realistic goals and develop a consensus for legislation that can be passed this year,” said Jim Rogers, CEO of Duke Energy and member of The Climate Group’s Leadership Council in Politico. “If that means capping emissions from the utility sector first — so be it.”
Evan Juska, Senior Policy Manager for The Climate Group said, “It’s not the easy decision, but it is the right one. While pricing carbon in only one sector is not ideal, it is the most that can be expected this year, and we need to get started.”
Amy Davidsen, US Executive Director of The Climate Group said “It represents a much needed investment in the future. It’s time we stop merely responding to oil spills and energy price hikes, and start investing in a future where those problems don’t exist. Putting a price on carbon is the first step towards making that future a reality.”
Senator Reid said that he hopes to have final text of the new bill by the week of July 26. That would leave the Senate 10 working days to pass the bill before the recess from August 9 – September 10.