The U.S. Senate should abandon efforts to pass legislation curbing greenhouse-gas emissions this year and concentrate on a narrower bill to require use of renewable energy, four Democratic lawmakers say.
“The problem of doing both of them together is that it becomes too big of a lift,” Senator Blanche Lincoln
of Arkansas said in an interview last week. “I see the cap-and-trade being a real problem
Leaders of the Democratic-controlled Senate say they are sticking with their plan
to combine a version of that bill with a separate measure mandating energy efficiency and the use of renewable sources such as solar and wind power.
“I don’t think we are going to take to the Senate floor a bill stripped of climate provisions,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters in Las Vegas on Aug. 11.
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee passed the renewable-energy legislation, 15-8, in June. Reid has set a deadline of Sept 28
for committees to complete work on climate-change provisions.
of Nebraska and North Dakota Senators Kent Conrad
and Byron Dorgan
joined Lincoln in suggesting that the climate measure be put off.
“We should separate the energy bill from the climate bill
,” Conrad told reporters this month. ‘It needs to be done as soon as we can get it done,” he said, referring to the energy legislation.
Climate legislation would require 60 votes
in the Senate. Most Republicans have said they oppose the cap-and-trade measure, and at least 15
of the Senate’s 60-member Democratic majority have said the House-passed version would hurt the economy and needs to be revamped to win their support.
Some Democrats want to avoid voting on a measure that would force companies to get pollution permits
, said Daniel Weiss, an energy and climate specialist for the Center for American Progress, a Washington public policy group that advises Democrats and supports a cap-and-trade system.
“There is a lot of wishful thinking on the part of some senators,” Weiss said in an interview. “They want to do what is easy, not what is needed