News Round Up From Day 1 Of EPW Cap-and-Trade Hearings
Dem Divisions Show During Climate Hearing, More Than a Dozen Democrats have Voiced Serious Concerns
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Reuters: Senate panel hears climate bill concerns - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The difficulty the U.S. Senate faces passing climate change legislation was evident on Tuesday when a powerful Democrat expressed serious concerns about the proposed pace for cutting carbon emissions and Republican opposition was on full display.
Congress Daily: Dem Divisions Show During Climate Hearing - Tensions between the liberal and moderate wings of the Democratic Party over climate change legislation were previewed at today’s Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing.Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus said he has "some concerns about the overall direction" of a 923-page cap-and-trade bill from Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer and Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry."We cannot afford a first step that takes us further away from an achievable consensus," Baucus said. "We could build that consensus here in this committee. If we don’t, we risk wasting another month, another year, another Congress, without taking a step forward to our future." Baucus said he has "serious reservations" about the bill’s requirement that U.S. greenhouse gas emissions be reduced 20 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, a higher goal than the 17 percent reduction by 2020 target in a House-passed bill and the 14 percent level once suggested by President Obama. Baucus told reporters he did not have a specific target in mind, but said generally that some modifications will be needed. Boxer said afterwards Baucus might be convinced to support the bill’s 2020 target because the economic slump this year has reduced U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 8 percent. "I think once he sees the fact that we’re already down 8 percent, that 20 percent target is way lower," Boxer said. "So I think we’re going to be talking to them about that." Baucus and Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa., also said the bill—unlike the House version—would not pre-empt EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act. "It’s a pretty big point," Specter said. "Let’s let Congress act on it. That’s really our job." Others more on the left want to preserve what is currently in the Kerry-Boxer draft and may go down swinging.
Energy Daily: Baucus Has ‘Serious Reservations’ On Senate Climate Bill - Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus signaled Tuesday he has "serious reservations" about key provisions of Democratic climate change legislation before the Senate, saying the bill’s 2020 emissions cap and the lack of a provision to exempt greenhouse gases from regulation under the Clean Air Act could threaten committee approval of the measure. In a brief statement at a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) hearing on the legislation (S. 1733), Baucus (Mont.), a moderate Democrat whose support is seen as crucial if the bill is to clear the Senate, expressed concern about the bill’s 2020 emissions-reduction target of 20 percent below a 2005 baseline and the lack of the Clean Air Act exemption in the bill."I have some concerns about the overall direction of the bill before us today and whether it will lead us closer to or further away from passing climate change legislation," Baucus said before hurrying away for a meeting on health care reform legislation… Arlen Specter (Pa.), another moderate Democratic member of the committee, also raised concerns about the absence of the Clean Air Act exemption. Specter said that without an exemption, industries falling under the bill’s emissions caps could not be sure they wouldn’t face additional regulation by EPA. That uncertainty, Specter said, could harden objections to the bill and threaten its passage.
Reuters: Senate panel hears climate bill concerns - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The difficulty the U.S. Senate faces passing climate change legislation was evident on Tuesday when a powerful Democrat expressed serious concerns about the proposed pace for cutting carbon emissions and Republican opposition was on full display. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held the first of three days of hearings on a Democratic plan to tackle global warming with a bill that would force U.S. utilities, factories and refineries to cut carbon dioxide pollution by 20 percent between 2012-2020. Moderate Democratic Senator Max Baucus, a member of the panel who also chairs the Senate Finance Committee, warned: "I have serious reservations (about) the depth of the ... reduction target in the bill." Speaking to reporters outside the hearing, Baucus would not say whether he would support the more modest 17 percent carbon reduction by 2020 included in a House-passed bill. Both targets would make the cuts from 2005 levels. Republicans portrayed the legislation as a complicated plan that would be tantamount to a jobs-killing tax increase.
Houston Chronicle: Senate brawl over climate change legislation begins - The legislation has been eyed warily by Senate Democrats worried that new emissions caps could impose hefty economic costs on struggling manufacturers and consumers in area reliant on emission-intense coal-fired power. Rust Belt senators led by Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., have said their support hinges on whether the bill includes protections to insulate steel and other manufacturers from the burden of competing with foreign companies in countries without more lenient greenhouse gas limits.
Politico: Baucus Criticizes Boxer Climate Bill (09/27/09) - Baucus’ positioning on climate change is important for two reasons. First, he’s a moderate swing vote who represents a coal producing state that has been skeptical about serious short-term caps on emissions. Second, as Finance Committee chairman, he’s got a major stake in the financing of a cap and trade proposal, so his committee is expected to rewrite parts of the EPW bill. Baucus implied that the 20 percent cut in emissions by 2020 was too steep him and other moderate Democrats to support. "We cannot afford a first step that takes us further away from a conceivable consensus on climate change," he said. Republicans see the legislation crafted by EPW Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) as a nonstarter. "This bill necessarily will raise the price of gasoline, electricity, food and just about everything else," said Sen. Jim Inhofe, the ranking member of the committee.
NYT: Baucus Has ‘Serious Reservations’ With Senate Climate Bill (09/27/09) - "The legislation before us is about our economy," Baucus said. "Montana, with our resource-based agriculture and tourism economies, cannot afford the unmitigated impacts of climate change. But we also cannot afford the unmitigated affects of climate change legislation. That’s why I support passing common-sense legislation that reduces greenhouse gas emissions while protecting our economy. The key word in that sentence is ‘passing.’"
AP: Obama team: US needs bill to lead in clean energy - While the legislation is likely to clear the environment panel, more than a dozen Democrats have voice serious concerns about the potential economic fallout from shifting away from fossil fuels to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions. On Tuesday, Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., chairman of the Finance Committee, told the hearing Tuesday that he had "serious reservations" with the aggressive effort to cut emissions over the next decade. The bill calls for greenhouse gases to be cut by 20 percent by 2020, a target that was scaled back to 17 percent in the House after opposition from coal-state Democrats. "We cannot afford a first step that takes us further away from an achievable consensus on commonsense climate change legislation," Baucus said. "Montana can’t afford the unmitigated impacts of climate change, but we also cannot afford the unmitigated effects of climate change legislation," he said. The chief author of the Senate bill, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., acknowledged that the bill would raise energy prices, but said the savings from reducing energy and the money to be made in new technologies were far greater. "Are there some costs? Yes, sir, there are some costs," Kerry said.
St. Louis.com : Bond: Climate change legislation slams farmers (10/27/09) - It’s barely news any more when Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond, R-Mo., aims a broadside at anti-global warming legislation given his adopted role as one of Congress’s most persistent critics. Nor is there much new in the deepening regional rivalry over climate change legislation pitting the Midwest and South against the East and West. But Bond plowed some different ground this morning at the opening of Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearings when he zeroed in on what he regards as dangers to the business of farming posed by the newest version of the legislation, sponsored by Sens. John Kerry of Massachusetts and Barbara Boxer of California.For one thing, Kerry-Boxer, unlike House-passed legislation, does not include a five-year moratorium on the Environmental Protection Agency figuring the damage to the environment globally from the production of biofuels in the United States.
Baucus Is Troubled by Senate Climate Bill - Baucus Is Troubled by Senate Climate Bill - Mr. Baucus will be a key player in writing the bill as his panel has jurisdiction over some elements of climate legislation. His views are also more likely to reflect the views of the center of the political spectrum, as the Senate’s environment committee is dominated by Democrats who are friendliest to the environmental movement. Mr. Baucus said his panel would hold hearings on the distribution of the tradable—and valuable—emission permits to affected industries. The bill would require companies across the economy to hold government-issued permits allowing them to emit greenhouse gases, which are believed to contribute to global warming. Over time, the government would reduce the number of permits issued, bringing down emissions, while allowing companies to trade the permits among themselves.