By Jim Snyder - 09/29/09 07:02 PM EDT
The Senate climate bill sets a more aggressive schedule for carbon dioxide emissions cuts than legislation passed by the House, but leaves out details about how to distribute valuable pollution allowances.
The initial draft is expected to be released publicly by the Environment and Public Works Committee on Wednesday, but a nearly completed draft was in wide circulation on K Street and elsewhere in Washington by Tuesday morning.
The other targets, including the 83 percent reduction by 2050, are the same in both Senate and House versions.
As expected, the draft, which is being sponsored by Sens. Barbara BoxerBarbara BoxerHispanic Caucus PAC looks to flex its muscles in 2016 Dems who sat out the sit-in offer array of reasons Senate honors Cleveland Cavs' NBA championship MORE (D-Calif.) and John KerryJohn KerryDozens of Clinton meetings left off State schedule: report Overnight Cybersecurity: Sit-in disrupts cyber hearings | Trump tries to defend claim Clinton was hacked Kerry backs government access to encrypted data MORE (D-Mass.), did not allocate allowances that companies need to acquire to cover their emissions. Those details will be left to a markup later in October. The Senate Finance Committee will also address that issue, sometime after it’s done with healthcare reform.
The allowances are expected to be worth tens of billions of dollars a year, and there is a fierce lobbying struggle over how they will be distributed over various industrial sectors.
The cap-and-trade bill sets up a market in which companies can buy and sell allowances as their needs require to meet emissions reduction targets. During the first years of the program, the government will distribute a majority of the necessary emissions for free.