Kerry to Settle For Clean Energy Bill?

Senator John KerryWith the collapse of the Senate’s intention to consider even a scaled-down cap and trade bill before its August recess, Senator John Kerry (D-MA) has re-entered the fray. Kerry, along with Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT), earlier introduced the American Power Act, a major component of which was a multi-sector cap and trade requirement. When it became clear that the American Power Act could not garner the 60 votes necessary for passage, an electric utility-only cap and trade bill was discussed as a substitute. That concept also received insufficient traction and was subsequently replaced by a bill responding to the Gulf oil spill and also containing funding for energy efficiency programs and natural gas vehicle incentives. However, that bill, too, was postponed until at least after the Senate’s August recess.

In an attempt to make some progress on the energy-climate change front, the newly introduced legislation, titled The Clean Energy Technology Leadership Act of 2010, would provide incentives for natural gas vehicles and residential and commercial energy efficiency, extend and modify the credits for biodiesel and renewable diesel, advanced energy research and domestic manufacture of energy appliances, provide additional funding for the advanced energy manufacturing credit, and provide an additional $3.5 billion for clean renewable energy bonds. With the apparent inability of the Senate to pass legislation placing a price on greenhouse gas emissions, Kerry’s bill seeks to reduce climate change impacts by promoting renewable energy and conservation.

Kerry described the bill as an “action to start moving in the right direction” toward comprehensive energy legislation. The upcoming election season, and subsequent lame duck session of Congress, however, do not bode well for passing a federal climate change bill in 2010. Keep posted for updates.