|Carbon Capping Would Have Tough Time Passing Senate, Expert Says|
March 27, 2009
A legislative expert from a trade group representing state
public service commissions says a national cap-and-trade system to reduce
carbon could have a tough time passing the Senate this year.
President Barack Obama has urged Congress to pass legislation that places
a market-based cap on carbon emissions that are blamed for global warming.
Chris Mele, legislative director of energy for the National Association of
Regulatory Utility Commissioners, said it will be tough for Democrats to
gain the 60-vote support necessary to break a Republican filibuster, but
legislation to deal with greenhouse gases will eventually emerge from Washington.
Mele urged states and utilities to start preparing.
“It’s coming. The question is when, and the question is how,” he said
Friday during a public forum hosted by the South Dakota Public Utilities
Karen Bridges, staff attorney for the Environmental Law and Policy Center,
said a cap-and-trade system will have costs, but they can be managed and
offset. Some sort of carbon regulation is inevitable, and states should
look at how it could create new economic opportunities.
“The question is how do we take advantage of this reality, how do we
thrive in it,” Bridges said.
Mele said lawmakers need to figure out whether there will be free
allowances for carbon emissions, to whom they would go and how would the
money be used.
Bridges said it’s important for Congress to craft a good bill that
includes serious investment in next-generation energy technologies and is
smart about cost-containment provisions.
“The later we wait, the more expensive it’s going to me to address the
problem in the future,” she said.