A Senate bill with renewable energy and climate provisions could reemerge in September.
Despite the growing sentiment that a comprehensive climate and energy bill is all but dead in the U.S. Senate, Majority Leader Senator Harry Reid said today that a bigger bill could find its way to the floor after the August break. Reid told Greenwire "There's a chance we're going to bring back a broader bill."
Supporters of a comprehensive energy bill--one that would include a renewable electricity standard (RES) or caps on greenhouse gases--were dealt a blow last month when Reid dropped the RES and climate provisions from the energy package, preferring to go with a much narrower energy bill focusing largely on the oil spill.
But the RES is kind of a popular idea in the wind-swept Plains states -- states that are overwhelmingly represented by Republicans in the Senate. One such Republican Senator, Kansas' Sam Brownback has said he would be willing to vote for a bill similar to Reid's bill offered this week if it included a 15 percent national RES. And while a modest RES might be able to pull together the 60 votes needed for passage--especially if it includes a sizable portion of energy efficiency credits in lieu of renewable energy--the chances of getting a carbon provision sufficient votes is another story altogether.
Pairing the RES with a carbon cap provision might actually doom the bill to failure considering the current political climate, the polarizing nature of carbon legislation, and the proximity to elections in November. "I don't know yet whether they should be mixed or whether they ought to be separate," said the Massachusetts Democrat Senator John Kerry of the renewable energy and climate provisions.