Jason Barton

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Archive for the ‘Energy bill’ tag

Senate Tentatively Moving Forward with Energy Bill

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For many reasons, it would be important to have Republicans at the table for these discussions, only one of which being the votes needed to pass a bill. With oil continuing to gush into the Gulf, maybe the U.S. public can weigh in on this important issue and convince law makers that we need to put the process in motion to achieve energy independence within the next two decades.

This would of course include much more use of natural gas, more domestic drilling, more nuclear power plants, and market based incentives to encourage research and development and increased use of energy from renewable sources. Most important of course would be increasing energy efficiency.

Even with government and citizen support, it’s difficult to see how this legislation could be passed before the August recess or even this fall’s elections, but it will be interesting to watch the discussions.

Senate Democrats poised to start energy bill

Legislation could include a carbon cap on utility companies. Many Democrats hope a summer discussion on energy will establish a strong contrast with Republicans before this fall’s election.

FeinsteinFrom left, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, (D-Calif.); Michael R. Bromwich, director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management ; and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar speak before a subcommittee hearing on Minerals Management Service reorganization. (Karen Bleier, AFP/Getty Images / June 23, 2010)
By Lisa Mascaro and Richard Simon Tribune Washington Bureau
Reporting from Washington —
With the gulf oil spill creating political opportunity, Senate Democrats will begin crafting a sweeping energy bill this week that could include a first-ever, though more modest, cap on global-warming pollution, believing they must act now despite differences within their ranks and political jitters in an election year.
Read the entire article here.

Written by Jason

June 27th, 2010 at 8:35 am

Kerry and Lieberman Release Energy Bill

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This looks to be a fairly pragmatic approach, though without a single Republican backer it may be a moot point, which makes me think Dems are only releasing it to campaign on it this fall, claiming Republicans won’t work with them on important issues. We’ll see.

The most disappointing aspect of this bill, from what little I’ve seen, is the lack of attention paid to energy efficiency and cutting energy use.

By Anna Fifield in Washington

Published: May 12 2010 18:01 | Last updated: May 12 2010 18:01

The Senate’s long-awaited climate change bill was finally unveiled on Wednesday, setting out sharp cuts in the US’s greenhouse gas emissions, but without the Republican who had been providing much-needed bipartisan support.

Democrat John Kerry and Independent Joe Lieberman presented a draft bill that offers major new incentives for nuclear power, coal, natural gas and offshore drilling, even as the BP oil spill makes supporting oil exploration politically difficult.

The draft, however, includes several new protections against oil spills, including one that allows states to veto drilling plans up to 75 miles from their shores or if they stand to suffer significant adverse impacts in the event of an accident.

Read the entire article here.

Written by Jason

May 12th, 2010 at 9:22 am

Lieberman encouraged that energy bill will be on track

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This comes as only somewhat of a relief after yesterday’s news that tripartisan talks on the energy bill had broken down the day before a draft of the legislation was to be released. I say “only somewhat” because saying it may be done “this year” is a far cry from previous estimates that it would be done in the next couple of months.

The reason I see the energy bill as so important is not because I’m hoping for one set of policies or another. Yes, I have my preferences, but it seems all of industry is waiting to hear what’s in this bill so they can plan their energy use and investment strategies accordingly. Clearly, however it shakes out in the particulars, this bill will demand at least some changes in energy use on the part of business, government, and regular citizens.

This does not necessarily put us solely in the reactive position, as many stakeholders have been proactively engaged, from regular voters voicing concerns to elected officials, to industry, to utilities, and to  oil, coal,  gas, and alternative energy providers.

The sooner the politicians enact the voices of the people who’ve spoken and release this bill, the sooner we can move forward.

WASHINGTON — A day after bipartisan support for an energy and climate change bill appeared to crumble, a Senate sponsor said yesterday he was optimistic the coalition would regroup and lawmakers would consider the measure this year.

Senator Joe Lieberman, a Connecticut independent, said that he was encouraged after talking to Senate majority leader Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, and Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, who were at odds over Reid’s suggestion that an immigration overhaul might be considered before the energy bill.

Read the entire article here.

Is It Worth the Investment for Energy Independence?

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Is it worth the investment to have energy independence and more renewable energy?

Optimism for a clean energy future

By MAGGIE L. FOX | 4/20/10 10:47 AM EDT

Read the entire article here.

But the good news is that, behind all the daily political turmoil, the Senate is working on an agreement to forge a new energy future that will help our economy, promote energy independence and give us millions of new jobs.

As Senate Trio Advances Climate Measure, Energy-Only Bill Remains a Possibility

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After a week’s hiatus in the Brazilian backcountry, I’ve returned to my computer to find some recent developments in Senate efforts to push forward with some kind of energy bill.

The bill advanced by Sen’s. Dorgan and Bingaman that came out of the Energy and Natural Resources Cmte. can be found here, along with several summaries of different lengths.

Published: March 18, 2010

Details emerged yesterday on a sweeping Senate energy and climate proposal just days after three senior Democrats huddled to discuss alternative ways to tackle the issue later this spring on the floor.

Under pressure to quickly produce a bill, Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) yesterday shared an eight-page outline of their draft plan in a closed-door meeting with major industry groups.


Overall, the bill will include eight titles: Refining, America’s Farmers, Consumer Refunds, Clean Energy Innovation, Coal, Natural Gas, Nuclear and Energy Independence, according to sources. And it would set up new nationwide standards for energy efficiency and renewable energy, and include ideas on carbon market regulation crafted by Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine).

Additional layers of certainty for industry come via a “hard price collar” that limits greenhouse gas allowances to between $10 and $30 per ton tagged to inflation, with an increase at a to-be-determined “fixed rate” over time. The legislation would also set aside a “strategic reserve” of 4 billion greenhouse gas credits that could be released into the market to help control price volatility fluctuations.


“Directionally speaking, the way they’re trying to conform and shape this bill I’d suggest is largely in sync with what most people in American industry think is the direction you’re going to have to go if you’re going to have a successful program,” said Bruce Josten, executive vice president for government affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “Now there’s a lot of ifs, ands and buts, but if you’re asking for a broad statement, that’s a broad statement.”

Read the entire article here.

Cap-and-trade’s last hurrah

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The decline of a once wildly popular idea

Mar 18th 2010 | From The Economist print edition

Gaia lent an unhelpful hand

IN THE 1990s cap-and-trade—the idea of reducing carbon-dioxide emissions by auctioning off a set number of pollution permits, which could then be traded in a market—was the darling of the green policy circuit. A similar approach to sulphur dioxide emissions, introduced under the 1990 Clean Air Act, was credited with having helped solve acid-rain problems quickly and cheaply. And its great advantage was that it hardly looked like a tax at all, though it would bring in a lot of money.


Energy bills have in the past garnered bipartisan support, and this one also needs to. That is why Senator Graham matters. He could bring on board both Democrats and Republicans. Mr Graham’s contribution has been to focus the rhetoric not just on near-term jobs, but also on longer-term competitiveness. Every day America does not have climate legislation, he argues, is a day that China’s grip on the global green economy gets tighter.

Read the entire article here.

Obama Says Senate May Drop Cap and Trade, Pass Energy-Only Bill

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I hear more and more that this is the most likely scenario. Though at a recent townhall-style meeting, Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) claimed that this fight was far from over and that he is optimistic about the chances for a cap and trade bill. Even if this bill passes, I don’t see it taking effect for several years, so if one is looking for change in energy markets, it won’t likely come from Cap and Trade for several years. The mere belief that this may happen, combined with public perceptions and pressure from consumers and shareholders are already causing considerable movement, as has been well documented on this site, towards renewable and low-carbon energy resources.

Published: February 3, 2010

President Obama acknowledged yesterday that the Senate may pass an energy bill this year without the cap-and-trade component he has long put at the center of his environmental agenda.

Speaking at a town hall meeting in Nashua, N.H., Obama repeated his call for a price on greenhouse gas emissions but said he recognized that such an approach may not have the votes to make it into law.

Read the entire article here.

What’s Necessary To Compete For Clean Energy Jobs

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To say the least, I am nervous about the amount of spending happening in Washington under the Obama administration. It seems so simple to most of us on the outside: If the investments in energy, healthcare, or anything else, can be shown to repay themselves in the near future with savings, if the efficiency of the systems can be improved so as to reduce waste and make the systems more effective, then the investments are wise. There are also other options to government spending, as we have seen the willingness of private investors and even some of the major oil firms to put money into advancing emerging energy technologies. I would love to leave behind as many energy options to my grandchildren as possible. I would not like to leave them an exorbitant federal deficit. Are these mutually exclusive?


December 7, 2009

By Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass.

Chairman, House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming

The winds of change blow into Copenhagen this week, as the United States and 200 other nations will meet for the UN Climate Conference. Copenhagen will indicate which nations are serious about energy security, ending oil addiction, cutting carbon pollution and creating clean energy jobs.

This week, I am pleased to host this discussion on the NationalJournal.com Copenhagen Insider blog, as I believe Copenhagen will reset both the international and domestic debate for the next year. To get started, here are two key areas to watch:

New U.S. Leadership

President Obama arrives in Copenhagen next week, with a refreshing new message for the world:  The United States is ready to be the leader, not the laggard, in the clean energy economy. He will back up this proclamation by proposing a carbon pollution reduction target in the range of 17 percent by 2020 and investment proposals to create clean energy jobs and technology at home that can be spread to other nations to help cut global warming pollution.

Read the entire article here.