By Frank James
A new climate change bill, whose chances for Senate passage aren't exactly great, aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. by 17 percent by 2020, according to those who have seen the legislation.
The legislation (here's a summary) is scheduled to be introduced Wednesday by its sponsors, senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) The legislation was tweaked since the Gulf of Mexico oil spill to deal with concerns raised by the continuing Deepwater Horizon disaster.
"Mindful of the accident in the Gulf, we institute important new protections for coastal states by allowing them to opt out of drilling up to 75 miles from their shores. In addition, directly impacted states can veto drilling plans if they stand to suffer significant adverse impacts in the event of an accident," according to a document described as a "draft short summary."
The long-awaited bill, to be released in full on Wednesday, also includes a 37.5 percent state royalty share to help protect coastlines and coastal ecosystems. That could upset drilling opponents who see the royalties as an inducement for expanded offshore drilling.
The legislation also contains a number of provisions designed to attract business support.
For example, it will include a "hard price collar" that will keep carbon prices between $12 and $25 in the trading market created by the legislation, a significant win for electric utilities that sought more assurance the sweeping climate bill would not lead to huge increases in energy costs.