Can a climate change bill survive the oil spill?
The millions of gallons of oil currently spilling into the Gulf of Mexico could either motivate Senators to pass comprehensive energy reform, or it could destroy any hope of bipartisan cooperation.
This article was originally reported by PRI's The Takeaway. For more, listen to the audio above.
Passing a climate change bill was going to be a challenge for the Obama administration before the recent oil spill. Back then, many believed that an expansion of offshore oil drilling was a compromise needed to get the bill passed. Now, several Democratic Senators are threatening to filibuster any climate change bill that expands offshore drilling.
Environmental groups are still hopeful that the environmental disaster will provide the spur needed to pass climate change legislation. In an interview with "The Takeaway," Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune said: "We couldn't have a more clear indication of the costs of our carbon pollution."
There are two principal climate change bills currently working through Congress. Brune points to the Cantwell-Collins bill, which would raise the price of carbon emissions and then rebate those costs back to consumers. Environmentalists have called this the "Cap and Cash" or "Cap and Dividend" alternative to the "Cap and Trade" strategy proposed in the better-known Waxman-Markey bill.
Congress will definitely try to pass one of these two climate bills this year, according Brune. "What is unclear," Brune says, "is which bill it will be and, of course, when that's going to happen."
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