Thursday, July 22, 2010

Harry Reid delays climate bill, maybe forever; 2 Dems on House panel back delay of EPA regs

"Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will bring a limited package of oil-spill response and energy measures to the floor next week, delaying action until at least this fall on a broader proposal that would impose greenhouse gas limits on power plants," reports Darren Goode of The Hill, citing "senior Senate Democratic aides" who "insisted Reid’s decision is a nod to the packed floor schedule the Senate faces before it leaves in two weeks for the August recess, and that he he has not abandoned plans to try and bring up a broader climate and energy plan later in the year. But other legislative priorities and election-year politics may scuttle the wider climate and energy plan altogether." (Read more)

Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, told Environment & Energy News that he didn't have a "clear understanding" of Reid's plan, "but likes the idea of moving ahead with legislation that can pass the Senate," says the story by Josh Voorhees, Robin Bravender, Alex Kaplun and Katherine Ling. "I've been of the view that we should go ahead and bring up a fairly narrowly crafted bill if we can get the votes to proceed and pass it," Bingaman told E&E. "If Senator Reid can identify some provision that relates to energy and the oil spill that he can get 60 votes for, I would urge that he go ahead and go for it." (Read more, subscription required)

Meanwhile, a House appropriations subcommittee deadlocked today on an amendment that would have delayed for two years any Environmental Protection Agency regulation of greenhouse gases from power plants and other stationary sources. Voting for the measure were all committee Republicans and two Democrats: Rep. Alan Mollohan of West Virginia, the No. 2 coal-producing state, and Rep. Ben Chandler of Kentucky, the third-ranking state.

Chandler, left, meets with directors of coal-dependent Kentucky rural electric cooperatives. Chandler's Bluegrass Region district has no coal mines but the state gets 92 percent of its electricity from coal, and his vote for the House cap-and-trade bill last year spurred Republican opposition to him and his re-election bid is likely to be his most contested yet. "A similar measure introduced by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) will go to the Senate floor at some point this year, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said last month," reports Greenwire's Gabiel Nelson. (Read more, subscription required)

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