Wednesday, July 28, 2010

New Energy Bill Lacks Emissions Caps

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has introduced energy legislation that would give Americans financial incentives for weatherizing their homes and driving natural gas cars.

But the environmental group Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future says an important piece of clean energy policy is missing from the bill – making it more costly to use fossil fuels.

PennFuture Federal Policy Manager Joy Bergey says the Senate has failed yet again to pass a cap-and-trade carbon emissions bill, despite nearly a decade of work from environmental groups.

Bergey says PennFuture wants a price to be put on carbon emissions.

“We need to make fossil fuels gradually more expensive, but then we also need to provide them the right market signals so that we bring more renewable energy into the mix – wind, solar, biofuels – making them more competitive.”

Bergey says by not promoting renewable energy, the Senate has allowed other countries like China to take the lead in developing clean energy technology. Bergey says these technological advances will be desired globally and could have sparked the United States’ economy.

Bergey says although some Republican Senators claimed that a cap-and-trade system would be a “job-killer” for fossil fuel industries, investing in renewable energy also would have created jobs.

Bergey says while PennFuture is grateful for a push to give $5 billion to the Home Star home weatherization program and $3.8 billion in tax credits for natural gas cars, the group will continue to advocate a cap-and-trade carbon emissions policy.

Senator Reid’s bill also contains a provision from Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey that would require companies to publicize the chemicals they use in hydraulic fracturing, a process that helps drill natural gas wells. Environmentalists have expressed concern that the poisonous chemicals used in this process could leak into waterways.

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