GOP Senators Tout Their Own Energy Plan

If you have been "capped and traded" to exhaustion by the climate change and energy proposal pushed by Democrat leaders and President Obama, there is another alternative to consider. While the Senate will debate cap and trade (or the national energy tax as termed by some) in the fall, the 40 Republicans in that chamber appear united in their own proposal.

Among the highlights:

  • Building 100 nuclear power plants in the next 20 years. Nearly all of the current 104 units came about in a similar time frame before the brakes were put on nuclear development 30 years ago
  • Options for states to drill for oil and natural gas off their coasts. States would get a guaranteed share of production revenue
  • Research and development for advanced batteries would help reach the goal of 50% of all cars and trucks being electric-powered within 20 years
  • Projects to spur research for carbon capture and storage, solar power, safely recycling nuclear waste, greener buildings and creating energy from fusion

Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander says the nuclear expansion will be the centerpiece of the plan. Senators are expected to tout the message "on the road in August" during recess, as well as utilize it (whether successful or not in the Senate) to try and gain seats in the 2010 congressional election.

Alexander says the senators’ plan seeks to control climate change "without the taxes and mandates" in the Democrats’ proposal. Nuclear power, he adds, does not emit heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions, the primary target of the cap and trade program.

Expect to hear more about it in the coming months. Will any of it find its way into serious Senate consideration? It’s too early to tell as some of the 40 Senate Republicans, while pledging support, will certainly also negotiate with Dems on a potential compromise.

“Global Warming” Bill Could be Cooled in Senate

Recently, we broke down the U.S. House vote approving climate change legislation that might be better referred to as a national energy tax. That was step one in a process that the Obama administration is trying to put on the fast track.

Early indications are that the Senate will have a more difficult time than the House in passing HR 2454. California’s Barbara Boxer, chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works committee, is expected to begin hearings on Tuesday. Her goal is to mark up legislation modeled on the House bill (capping greenhouse gas emissions and mandating increased energy from renewable sources) before the August recess.

Other Senate committees — Agriculture, Finance and Foreign Relations — are expected to weigh in with mid-September deadlines.

As was the case in the House, moderates and senators from coal-producing states will be the key votes. The focus is expected to be on about 15 Democrats, including Indiana’s Evan Bayh, who fall into one of those categories.

The U.S. Chamber offers this concise primer on the terms and issues involved in the global warming debate. The battle will continue.