Climate-change legislation heating up
A US Senate committee yesterday approved a quid-pro-quo Energy bill that trades a new pipeline in Alaska and new sections of the Gulf of Mexico getting opened to drilling for a renewable energy standard:
The measure, which cleared the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on a 15-to-8 vote, would also require utilities to produce up to 15 percent of electricity from renewable sources like wind and solar power by 2021. That standard is somewhat weaker than one in a House energy and climate change bill that is headed for a floor vote as early as next week.
My feeling is that every last cubic centimeter of fossil fuel that can be extracted at a cost that makes economic sense is going to be drilled for sooner or later. The question is what is that cost? Without affordable renewable energy, oil companies will tear each other asunder for the chance to destroy the planet in the search for more-expensive-to-reach deposits if they can sell what they come up with for $900 a barrel.
Still, since the fuel is probably going to come out one way or another, you might as well try to get something for it– like a renewable energy mandate. Not everyone was happy with the mandate, however:
Senator Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat who voted against the measure, said he had done so because the renewable energy standard was too weak and because the bill allowed drilling to within 45 miles of coastlines, which he said was too close.
It looks like this is basically a bargaining chip to throw into the mix when Waxman-Markey comes close to final passage.
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