Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced that the scaled-down energy bill he intends to introduce before the August recess will not include either a cap and trade provision or a renewable energy portfolio requirement. Acknowledging that he could not command 60 votes for even a utility-only cap and trade program, Reid will push for more limited energy legislation covering a response to the Gulf oil spill, energy-efficiency retrofit programs, incentives for the production and purchase of natural gas vehicles, and additional appropriations for the Land and Water Conversation Fund.
Attention now turns squarely to the Environmental Protection Agency which adopted regulations covering greenhouse gas emissions under the authority of the Clean Air Act that are scheduled to take effect January 2, 2011. In addition to pending lawsuits challenging EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gases, both the House and the Senate are revisiting imposing a two year moratorium on EPA regulations. The White House has previously said it would veto any permanent disabling of EPA’s regulatory authority.