Senate Climate Bill Unveiled on May 12th

climate bill impacted by oil spillGreenTracker| Senators John Kerry and Joseph Lieberman will introduce a bill to limit US greenhosue gases and boost “clean energy” production on Wed. May 12.

The two senators are breaking with Senator Lindsey Graham, who supports the climate bill and has worked intensely on its development but wants it put on hold because of the oil spill in the Gulf and also the lack of progress on America’s immigration laws debate.

While the new proposal kept the House bill’s environmental goal, a 17 percent reduction of greenhouse gases below their 2005 level by 2020, it scaled back the cap-and-trade program to cover only the electricity sector at first, according to people familiar with the plan. via Business Week

While the original climate proposal called for offshore drilling, it will likely be eliminated due to strong objections from Democrats Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey and Florida’s Bill Nelson. Graham says he cannot support a climate bill that doesn’t have offshore drilling.

Reporting on the same press release, the NYTimes adds that General Electric Co., DuPont, FPL Inc. and American Electric Power Co. Inc., as well as three of the nation’s major oil companies BP PLC, ConocoPhillips and Royal Dutch Shell PLC. and also Roberta Combs, president and CEO of the Christian Coalition of America, founded by televangelist Pat Robertson, support the bill.

Senator Kerry says that the offshore drilling components are under discussion. Under discussion is the right of a state, or neighboring state to veto any drilling 75 miles inside its shores.  Beyond the 75 mile border, states would have no rights. It’s unclear how BP’s inability to plug the current oil spill in the Gulf will impact negotiations.