A revised Senate climate bill is expected to be unveiled sometime early the week of April 19, just days before Earth Day, which is April 22, according to news reports.
Democratic Senator John Kerry, along with Republican Lindsey Graham and independent Senator Joseph Lieberman, are expected to introduce a compromise measure that could entice support from heretofore uncooperative lawmakers, reports Reuters.
The bill will be timed to roughly coincide with the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, according to the Washington Post.
However, the measure could become relegated to the sidelines if the Senate becomes embroiled in debate over a successor to Supreme Court Justice Paul Stevens, who recently announced his retirement, according to the New York Times.
In fact, Garrison Nelson, a congressional expert with the University of Vermont, expects the climate bill to find no traction at all.
“The hope of the Republican Party is to kind of stall and stall and stall, politicize the nomination as much as possible and tack this onto their anti-health care [message],” he told the NY Times. “The health care outrage will subside. They need a new outrage.”
The climate bill will provide just such a distraction, Nelson predicted.
Depending on the level of support for a revised climate bill – details of which are still sketchy – Majority Leader Harry Reid will probably wait until mid-May to see if the climate bill can garner the 60 votes it needs, reports The Hill.
The compromise bill is likely to include a more limited version of cap-and-trade that applies to power plants at first, then later to industrial plants.
To keep the oil lobby from attacking the measure, the compromise bill is likely to institute a fee on motor fuels, instead of requiring refineries to get emissions allowances to account for the tailpipe emissions that result from their fuel being used, according to The Hill.