On November 5, the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act (S.1733) was reported out of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee without any amendments. Due to the Republican boycott of the markup, the bill passed with no Republican support.
The committee passage of this bill is an important next step in passing comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation through the Senate. More committees may contribute to what will form the overarching package. Other senators have bills that they would want folded into the big package, for example something like Senator Brown’s (D-OH) IMPACT bill or the Natural Resources Adaptation bill offered by Senators Baucus and Whitehouse (D-RI).
As reported in the press, Senator Kerry (D-MA) indicated he will continue his discussions with Senators Graham (R-SC) and Lieberman (I-CT) to keep their bipartisan effort moving forward. Environmentalists are concerned that these particular discussions may include support for the billions of dollars the industry is asking for new nuclear plants; the bill reported out of the EPW committee has provisions for nuclear training and safety programs, but no loans for new plants.
It will be the task of Majority Leader Reid to combine all of these proposals and send the overall package to the EPA for modeling before the international negotiations in Copenhagen. A final bill may only arrive on the Senate floor in January or February. But before then e-mails are needed to Sens. Bob Casey and Arlen Specter, urging them to:
- Prevent oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and off the shores of Virginia and Alaska.
- Avoid funding for new nuclear power plants that comes at the expense of funding for conservation and alternative energy.
- Maintain EPA jurisdiction over emissions from existing coal-fueled power plants.