Greenhouse Gas Legislation? What's next.

31 Mar 2010

Now that Congress has passed healthcare legislation, there is no shortage of daunting issues facing the country that are expected to be addressed. Jobs, immigration and clean energy are at the top of the Administration’s list.  Certainly, there is some overlap both pro- and con between the first and the third issues. There is no shortage of ideas and maneuvering related to the issue of clean energy and jobs. As you may recall, the House of Representatives passed a bill last year that would include a number of things – not the least of which was a national cap and trade program where greenhouse gasses would be ratcheted down.  That bill stalled in the House as Health Care took center stage.  Now, there are as many ideas about how to approach the issue as there are members of Congress – maybe more.

There are discussions about staggering the implementation of a cap and trade program, with one Michigan Senator suggesting a 10 year delay to let manufacturers get back on their feet – with one eye on what other countries (most notably China) do on the subject.

There are certainly those proposing a straight out carbon tax; others proposing a national Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS) similar to what Michigan and a number of other states have – mandating utility generation or purchase of renewable energy as a percentage of the total energy sold.

Rumor has it that a bi-partisan team of Senators is about to propose legislation that would have a pared-down cap and trade program (applicable only to utilities) coupled with incentives for nuclear and oil and gas efficiency projects.  Because of the fears of job losses as well as the enthusiasm for creating “green” jobs – there may be a lot of action in Congress yet this year.  Stay tuned!

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