Senate Democrats are expected to work on an energy bill this week (June 29) that could include a cap on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from utility companies instead of regulating GHG emissions from all sources as initially proposed, reports The Chicago Tribune. The bill is not expected to be an economy-wide climate change bill that the House passed one year ago.
It’s reported that there is interest in a compromise that would cap carbon-dioxide emissions from the electric power sector only, not transportation and manufacturing sectors, which would raise the cost of burning coal to generate electricity while driving up the use of alternative technologies, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Democrats agree that a carbon cap, which requires companies to buy permits to generate carbon dioxide, won’t be approved in the Senate, reports The Wall Street Journal.
Republicans describe the cap-and-trade system as a national energy tax, and a group of coal and Midwest state Senate Democrats opposes it because of the economic impact on their states, according to the article.
Other possible options include a cap and dividend bill, a measure that phases out old coal plants and an energy-only bill with a renewable electricity standard, reports The New York Times.
The bill also could include provisions that would increase the liability caps on oil companies and impose stricter environmental and safety rules on offshore drilling as a result of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Republicans had predicted that Senate Democrats would tie the oil spill provisions to climate policies that charge industrial emitters for releasing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, reports The New York Times.
The bill also may include new requirements that utilities generate more electricity from renewable sources, and stricter efficiency standards for appliances and buildings.
President Obama is expected to meet today (June 29) with a bipartisan group of senators to discuss a new energy policy.