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CRS Comparison of Selected Energy and Climate Change Bills June 27, 2010

Posted by Laura Arnold in Federal energy legislation.
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This report was sent to us from Lane Ralph in U.S. Senator Dick Lugar’s office.

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) has prepared a memorandum that provides a short summary and comparison of four legislative proposals that may receive attention in the U.S. Senate during the next few months.  While all four proposals fall within the broad category of energy and climate change policy, the specifics of the proposals vary significantly, and their approaches vary in many ways. The four proposals analyzed are as follows:

  •  S. 1462, the American Clean Energy Leadership Act (ACELA) of 2009, was introduced by Senator Bingaman and reported by the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on July 16, 2009 (S.Rept. 111-48). S. 1462 is a broad energy bill aimed at promoting the development of clean energy technologies, increasing energy efficiency, and promoting domestic energy resources.1 Incentives for new technology include a renewable energy standard (RES) for electric utilities. The bill does not directly address greenhouse gas emissions: provisions for a greenhouse gas cap-and-trade system were instead included in S. 1733, the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act, sponsored by Senators Kerry and Boxer, and reported by the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on February 2, 2010.

 

  • S. 2877, the Carbon Limits and Energy for America’s Renewal (CLEAR) Act, was introduced by Senators Cantwell and Collins on December 11, 2009 and has been referred to the Senate Committee on Finance. S. 2877 would establish a program to control only carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions (covering 80% of U.S. GHG emissions), requiring fossil fuel producers (e.g., coal mines, gas wellheads) and importers to submit “carbon shares” for the CO2 emissions related to the fossil fuels they produce or import. The President would limit (or cap) the quantity of carbon shares available for submission each year, and the Department of Treasury would distribute all of the carbon shares through monthly auctions.

 

  • S. 3464, the Practical Energy and Climate Plan Act of 2010, was introduced by Senators Lugar, Graham, and Murkowski on June 9, 2010 and has been referred to the Senate Committee on Finance. S. 3464 is a broad energy bill aimed at promoting thedevelopment of clean energy technologies, increasing energy efficiency, and promoting domestic energy resources. Instead of a renewable energy standard (RES) like that contained in S. 1462, S. 3464 contains a “Diverse Energy Standard” which would permit the use of a broad range of electric generation technologies including renewables, but also including nuclear energy and advanced coal generation with carbon capture and storage. Other provisions include building and vehicle efficiency standards and nuclear energy loan guarantees. The bill does not contain a mandatory scheme to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

 

  • A discussion draft of the American Power Act (APA) was released on May 12, 2010 by Senators Kerry and Lieberman. A comprehensive energy and climate change policy proposal, the draft would set GHG reduction goals similar to those in H.R. 2454 (the bill most comparable to the APA draft),3 which passed the House in June 2009. The APA employs a market-based cap-and-trade scheme for electric generators and industry with a separate price mechanism to cover emissions from transportation fuels. The draft proposal would allocate a significant amount of allowance value to energy consumers, low-income households, and the promotion of low-carbon energy technologies. In addition, the draft would provide incentives for the expansion of nuclear power, carbon capture and storage technology, and advanced vehicles.

To read the complete comparison and analysis of these four energy and climate change bills by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) please see the document posted below.

CRS Comparison of Energy & Climate Change Bills June 24[1]

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