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EEI, three oil companies to back climate bill; top 10 highlights of Kerry proposal

By Juliet Eilperin

The nation's largest electric utilities association and three of the country's biggest oil companies will endorse the climate proposal Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) and Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) will introduce Monday, Kerry told supporters in a private phone call Thursday evening.

The declarations of support show the three senators have made some inroads with the business community in drafting their plan, but have yet to win over traditional opponents of mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions. Several consumer groups will back the plan as well. Kerry's office declined to comment on the matter.

The Edison Electric Institute -- whose members generate the bulk of the nation's electricity -- and two of its influential CEOs, Exelon's John Rowe and Duke Energy's Jim Rogers, will declare their support Monday, sources said. While Kerry did not name the three oil companies, a source familiar with the negotiations said Shell, BP and ConocoPhillips would back the climate measure.

Winning over business interests who face regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency, Graham said Thursday, is essential to enlisting Republican support for the proposal. "The goal is to have the business community come forward and say, 'This is a better solution to the EPA,'" he said.

The top 10 highlights of the proposal Kerry outlined in the phone call:

1. The bill would take effect in 2013 and by 2020 would cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions 17 percent compared to 2005 levels, and 80 percent by 2050.

2. Trade-sensitive and energy-intensive industries would get a four-year delay before they would be subject to greenhouse gas limits.

3. Two-thirds of the revenues generated by auctioning off pollution allowances for utilities would be returned to consumers through local distribution companies.

4. Oil companies will be subject to pollution allowances that will be retired over time, rather than a linked fee. In an effort to counter criticism that any sort of carbon limits on fuel sales constitutes a gas tax, the Congressional Budget Office will issue a document stating this provision will not constitute a tax. All diesel oil fuel revenues will be set aside and directed to the Highway Trust Fund.

5. The bill will preempt both the states' and EPA's ability to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, as long as emitters comply with the standards outlined in the measure. The EPA will monitor and enforce compliance with the law.

6. The bill will contain a nuclear title providing loan guarantees and liability protections for the construction of up to 12 plants.

7. The measure will provide $10 billion to the coal industry for "clean coal technology" that will capture emissions from coal-fired power plants, and it will provide an accelerated bonus for early deployment of this technology.

8. It will provide financial incentives for natural gas and electric vehicles.

9. The proposal will provide a hard price collar for the price of carbon, with both a ceiling and a floor.

10. It will also include the entire energy bill passed last year by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

By

Juliet Eilperin

 |  April 23, 2010; 6:00 AM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Comments

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Tax pollution more and tax income less. The US economy needs clean energy or we will become even poorer. China, Germany and others are investing in clean energy. We should not be left behind. Please review the facts concerning our budget and trade deficits, including the amount of oil we import from countries that either directly or indirectly support policies contrary to core US interests.

Lets build a stronger US.

Posted by: david65 | April 28, 2010 10:25 AM
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kidding??? that 80 percent by 2050, i dont think that'll be reality, but yes this is a good begining, i hope many companies join to the "green planet" named by politicians, when they dont know about the environmental techniques to combat the climate change, definetly there are aspects when the professionals and no politicians must be together. greetings

Posted by: henrygal88 | April 24, 2010 10:22 PM
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The framers of this bill must be afforded a starring role in Alice In Wonderland, because the whole thing is a dangerous illusion that will further encourage the dedevelopment of the USA. That Big Oil is jumping on board is no surprise, they know which side of the bread to spread their CO2 emissions. The whole thing is fraud because it is predicated on the hoax that CO2 is the boogy-man. It is time to to stop the madness and absolute insanity of the Federal gov't. November is coming, so those promoting this lie better pack their bags to leave DC.

Posted by: pedalingparson | April 24, 2010 6:04 AM
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Hmmm.....BP, ConocoPhillips and Shell are members of the International Emissions Trading Association. I wonder if Goldman Sachs (also a member) will endorse the proposal.

Posted by: Jupiter1 | April 23, 2010 4:24 PM
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The Cap and Tax legislation is another flavor of socialist insanity brought to the podium by the Democrats and those who hope to get/stay on "top" by allying with them and undermining the American citizenry's freedom. Oppose them everywhere and at all times!

Posted by: DoTheRightThing | April 23, 2010 1:17 PM
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And why wouldn't these companies "sign on"? It won't cost them a penny, they will just charge the customer that much more and add some more for their "profit" as well. This bill needs to be put where it belongs, the trash can.

Posted by: gmclain | April 23, 2010 12:47 PM
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www.docstoc.com/profile/USAGEG

The utilities should review the statements in the above web site and clean up their plants

Posted by: gus7 | April 23, 2010 12:44 PM
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why does all of obama's changes take place after the 2012 election...

Posted by: DwightCollins | April 23, 2010 12:33 PM
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So they're going to draft a document saying that a gas tax isn't a gas tax? Are people stupid enough to buy into that? Our utility rates will sky rocket (Obama's words) and the energy companies will make a killing.

The reason these energy companies voice support is because it gives them free rein to raise rates and blame it on regulations.

Please wake up America!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: thehamptons1 | April 23, 2010 12:03 PM
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Will the cost to the end user go up? Their electricity, gas, food, housing, at a cost whereby the average to poor can keep-up with just the living costs. That is the question?
Who made the EPA god? They are a dangerous group thinking that they own the air, water,earth, and fire. The EPA is why California has gone broke. The regulations are enough to choke any business into a lost endeavor.
The EPA does not own the Air; yet they are playing god.
The EPA does not own earth for planting and housing, yet they demand the Americans to follow their regulations and not kill a mouse or a rat; they are playing god.
The EPA thinks they own the fire and regulates the smoke. Farmers can't even burn old brances that are cut from trees which is ridiculous.
The EPA thinks they own the water that flows to the much need areas for crops.
If the farmer has less of a crop every person pays more at the grocery store.
The EPA thinks they should save a 2" fish, when they could easily be caught by big screens and then moved beyond the point of danger. The caring for the fish has been in place for forty years. So why is the EPA cutting water off to the farmers? Because the EPA wants to control your life; even to the point of every breath you take.
Call it what you will, but it ain't Freedom. Wake-up America!
Should the Americans trust the likes of Kerry, Lindsey, and Lieberman? All three have been in government for years and they are part of the problem. Have they reined in the EPA? No they have not and and now will give the the EPA even more power. Who do you think will be counting the carbons?

Posted by: Logic3 | April 23, 2010 11:40 AM
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This was sent to me by an Obama and DemocRat voter in 2008, you gotta love it!

When your friends can't explain why they voted for Democrats, give them this list. They can then pick a reason .


10. I voted Democrat because I believe oil companies' profits of 4% on a gallon of gas are obscene but the government taxing the same gallon of gas at 15% isn't.


9. I voted Democrat because I believe the government will do a better job of spending the money I earn than I would.

8. I voted Democrat because Freedom of speech is fine as long as nobody is offended by it.

7. I voted Democrat because I'm way too irresponsible to own a gun, and I know that my local police are all I need to protect me from murderers and thieves.

6. I voted Democrat because I believe that people who can't tell us if it will rain on Friday can tell us that the polar ice caps will melt away in ten years if I don't start driving a Prius.

5. I voted Democrat because I'm not concerned about the slaughter of millions of babies through abortion so long as we keep all death row inmates alive.

4. I voted Democrat because I think illegal aliens have a right to free health care, education, and Social Security benefits.

3. I voted Democrat because I believe that business should not be allowed to make profits for themselves. They need to break even and give the rest away to the government for redistribution as the democrats see fit.

2. I voted Democrat because I believe liberal judges need to rewrite the Constitution every few days to suit some fringe kooks who would never get their agendas past the voters.

1. I voted Democrat because my head is so firmly planted up my (expletive) that it is unlikely that I'll ever have another point of view.

Posted by: theaz | April 23, 2010 11:39 AM
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Time to line up at the pumps of these companies competitors. Maybe the consumers of the utilities can withhold their bill payments for a few months. It is time for the consumer to inject themselves into this contrived debate.

Posted by: aznmc | April 23, 2010 11:39 AM
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.

There's really only one thing keeping Lindsey Graham from becoming America's first openly gay president: he's not gay.
.

Posted by: BrianX9 | April 23, 2010 11:37 AM
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Let's get real here so far as the massive transition that's needed so far as energy efficient vehicles are concerned. If companies & corporations can get the best federal & state tax breaks on purchase of hybrid or pure electric or natural gas vehicles FIRST, the price will drop for individuals.
At least a two or three year lead on the best incentives for companies & corporations. There are statistics that say most Americans only drive 40 miles a week in their cars or trucks. If that's the case, then fleet vehicles must do more. And, because fleets are often in statistical metropolitan areas (at least the top 150 in the country), transitioning fast into those SMAs for business purposes, makes sense.
The reduction of fleet breaks could begin to wind down in say, 3-5 years, and the tax breaks for individuals could begin to ramp up for the next 3-5 years. If the latter, we'd have the first half of a decade going to maximizing transitions for business vehicles; the second for individuals.
Even in the first 3-5 years, however, individuals would get federal tax breaks to purchase hybrid gas or electric vehicles. By decade's end, there would be millions of gas or electric vehicles on the roads of America.
Our air quality would improve, and perhaps as a result thereof, some of the targets for air pollution in SMAs would have been met through focus on vehicles.
Additionally, items such as electric mowers, barbeque grills, outdoor lighting, etc., that might contribute to Greenhouse gases might also receive some incentives for individuals.
Adding several LED lights for each tax payer would also drive down the prices on LED lighting across the board. The government must know in general, how many lights individual or family tax payers have; the same for businesses.
Again, businesses get a better break for purchase of MORE LED lights in the first five years of this decade. Again, they drive down the prices quickly, so that after a few years, individual or family tax payers can buy their own LEDs, at much cheaper prices.
Putting LED lighting into effect @ the front end of this "decade transition" could also cut down on carbon emissions via power plants. The + effect for the nation as a whole would be, I think, dramatic. A decade is not so long, in the nature of such a dramatic transition.
America could easily find many other ways to reduce CO2 and fossil fuel consumption. We need to reduce our exposure to Middle Eastern carbon fuels as quickly as possible. At some point, wouldn't it be great to say: who CARES what the Arabs charge for oil! We can find ever greater ways to reduce our use of carbon fuels. They just think we always have to come to them, and let's face it: most Muslim carbon sellers don't like us anyway.
What a great feeling to have that we're distancing ourselves from the Islamic world.

Posted by: zennheadd | April 23, 2010 11:26 AM
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jsbar wrote:
"Climate Change is a fraud perpetrated by the energy utilities, oil companies and Wall Street to further rip off a ignorant hysterical public."

Um...that's an interesting statement given that the groups you listed have spent literally billions on campaigns to convince the public that their is no such thing as climate change. And by "interesting", I mean it's the most ignorant thing I've ever heard in my entire life.

Are there any right-wingers that even spend ANY time in the reality-based world anymore?

Posted by: TheDukeStir1 | April 23, 2010 11:19 AM
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These people in Congress must think the voters are bluffing when they threaten to throw the bums out.

Climate Change is a fraud perpetrated by the energy utilities, oil companies and Wall Street to further rip off a ignorant hysterical public.
Their useful idiots in the Green Movement and promoters in the media are complicit in this fraud and will forever have destroyed their credibility.

Posted by: jsbar | April 23, 2010 10:56 AM
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"Two-thirds of the revenues generated by auctioning off pollution allowances for utilities would be returned to consumers through local distribution companies."

This is still Cap and Trade and ruse to transfer power over pricing to Wall Street instead of operating under supply and demand.

We all know how well Wall Street and their Political puppets work together.

The redistribution of carbon indulgences by local companies will go to connected members of the tribe in power.

Vote them all out.

Posted by: Independent109 | April 23, 2010 10:45 AM
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Cr@p and Tax - Uncle Sam needs more money for his addictions. He doesn't want to steal it from you, but he will if he has to.

Posted by: pgr88 | April 23, 2010 10:45 AM
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I love how "experts" comment on the Bill before the PUBLIC can see it!!

Phooey!

Posted by: launchloan | April 23, 2010 10:39 AM
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This is scurrilous nonsense and must be rejected!

Cap and trade, and carbon credits are not designed to save the earth.

Rather it is all about making the rich richer. A "carbon credit" is a worthless empty concept, a symbol like a poker chip.

By paying new taxes on our energy and food, we will all endow the very rich with a newly-capitalized asset - that poker chip will now be worth a lot of money.

That pile of chips will be used to exclude new players from the energy and commodity markets. Mind you, none of this will reduce emissions! When we run out of carbon for a given year, we'll simply borrow from future years, say the "carbon economists"!!!!!

Yet another opportunity for the banking system to pervert another phase - the biggest yet - of our economy and lives!

Posted by: launchloan | April 23, 2010 10:38 AM
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What if greenhouse gases and particularly CO2 are not responsible for the slight increase in temperatures in the 80s and 90s?

The science is a mess. If the government wants to spend our money wisely, they should do an engineering-grade study on exactly how emissions effect the climate and whether spending trillions of dollars on a problem that may not exist is a smart thing to do.

The science is inconclusive and it's appearing increasingly clear that the temperature data is subject to manipulation. Fix the science and then set the policy, if indeed a change in policy is needed.

Posted by: theduke89 | April 23, 2010 10:30 AM
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Kerry should be ashamed of himself for backing this gift to the biggest polluters in the country. 17% of 2005 emissions cut over the next three years? You know what that is? That's like you cutting your electricity use over the next three years by replacing a couple of incandescent bulbs with fluorescents. This is a joke. Ask any climate scientist what is needed and they will give you some much larger numbers. MUCH larger numbers.

We're near a tipping point, and this tiny little reduction is not going to matter in the least. By 2050 we'll be way past any chance to do any good if we don't act now. I'm more and more disappointed in the Democrats these days (never mind the Republicans, who sold their souls to the devil long ago). During this Earth week it sure would have been nice to hear some real progressive environmental ideas from the Dems. Very sad.

Posted by: PrairieDog60 | April 23, 2010 10:20 AM
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Posted by: itkonlyyou24 | April 23, 2010 9:26 AM
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Edison and some Big Oil are supporting cap and tax? Follow the money. Real journalists would find out who's paying who what. Eilperin will just continue to gush about saving polar bears.

Posted by: silencedogoodreturns | April 23, 2010 9:23 AM
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