Polluters Believe This May Be the Best Year for Climate Legislation

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 17 Jan 2008 16:35:00 GMT

Representatives of the coal, oil, and gas lobby met yesterday at the United States Energy Association’s “State of the Energy Industry” conference at the National Press Club in Washington. They agreed that Lieberman-Warner may be the best legislation they can hope for, especially if issues like polar bear habitat set the standard for legislation.

Katherine Ling reports for E&E Daily that David Parker, president and CEO of the American Gas Association, said “Who would you rather have writing a bill in the Senate? I might guess it may set a tone for business to fully work with the Senate this year.” He continued that “the polar bear habitat is going to really drive this [climate change] debate. We all have a big education job to do and I think we need to do it collectively.”

Bill Scher has further commentary at Blog for Our Future.

E&E Daily:

While most panelists agreed it was not likely that a full bill capping greenhouse gas emissions would pass this session, they said a great deal could be accomplished in laying the groundwork this year.

Tom Kuhn, president and CEO of Edison Electric Institute, predicted there will be a floor vote in the Senate this year on a climate bill. “No matter what happens on those votes, that will set the marker for what we do in the future,” he said, especially if there is White House involvement.

David Parker, president and CEO of the American Gas Association, agreed with Kuhn. Despite a general disagreement the energy industries have with the climate bill sponsored by Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and John Warner (R-Va.), he said, future legislation could be even harder on the industry.

“Warner is retiring this year, and then the question is, ‘Who comes into play?’” Parker said. Potentially, Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) – who both favor greater emission limits than those in the Lieberman-Warner bill – could lead the next attempt to pass climate change legislation under a Democratic president, he said.

“Who would you rather have writing a bill in the Senate? I might guess it may set a tone for business to fully work with the Senate this year,” he said.

Achieving workable legislation will require educating policymakers and the public a great deal more on energy markets, panelists said.

Parker said he was worried that “the polar bear habitat is going to really drive this [climate change] debate. We all have a big education job to do and I think we need to do it collectively.”

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