An Energy Bill in the Offing?

Just yesterday The Vine ran a nice piece on the possible directions a Senate energy bill could take in July.  The critical issues seem to rest on the ways that oil spill in the gulf will compel law-makers and how Reid’s proposal will affect the Kerry-Lieberman climate bill.  Critics, like Plumer, are speculating that with the issues divided up, carbon regulations will be taking a back seat.  Here is the text from article:

Last Friday, Harry Reid sent a letter to various Senate committee chairmen telling them he wanted to get an energy bill rolling in July. BP’s poisoning of the Gulf has apparently made energy reform look a lot more palatable than it did a few months ago. But Reid’s letter was blurry on the details: He never said whether he wanted legislation that capped carbon emissions. An “energy bill,” after all, could mean anything from the big Kerry-Lieberman climate bill to a scaled-down bill that just cracked down on oil companies and maybe added some funds for alternative energy sources. A more modest approach might give Dems a nice, tidy political win. But it wouldn’t do nearly as much for the planet.

And now it’s starting to look like a smaller bill may, in fact, be in the offing. Earlier today, Chuck Schumer was on MSNBC and said that the legislation Reid was assembling would resemble the (weak) energy-only bill passed by Jeff Bingaman’s committee back in June. In other words, there’d be some renewable-power mandates, some incentives for nuclear, some funds to kick-start new transmission lines, and some new regulations on oil companies. If Kerry and Lieberman want to tack on a cap-and-trade scheme on top of all that, Schumer said, they’ll “get a chance to add it in the form of an amendment.”

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