WASHINGTON — The long delayed and much amended Senate plan to deal with global warming and energy was unveiled Wednesday to considerable fanfare but uncertain prospects.
After nearly eight months of negotiations with lawmakers and interest groups, Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Joe Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut, produced a 987-page bill that tries to limit climate-altering emissions, reduce oil imports and create millions of new energy-related jobs.
The sponsors rewrote the section on offshore oil drilling in recent days to reflect mounting concern over the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, raising new hurdles for any future drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts while allowing it to proceed off Louisiana, Texas and Alaska.
Kerry said the United States was crippled by a broken energy policy and falling behind in the global race for leadership in clean-energy technology.
"We're threatened by the impacts of a changing climate," he said in a packed Senate hearing room. "And right now, as one of the worst oil spills in our nation's history washes onto our shores, no one can doubt how urgently we need a new energy policy in this country. Now is the time to take action."
It may be difficult, however, for him to persuade the Senate to act. The country is nervously watching efforts to halt the Gulf spill, the Senate is torn by deep partisan hostility and the public is uncertain whether the benefits of combating global warming are worth the costs. There also is no assurance that the bill will break through the crowded Senate calendar to reach the floor this year.
No Republicans have stepped forward to support the two senators' efforts.
President Barack Obama endorsed the proposal.
"Americans know what's at stake by continuing our dependence on fossil fuels," Obama said Wednesday. He called on the Senate to move ahead so that a final bill could be enacted this year.
Big $$$ subsidy for Alt Energy thereby creating American jobs. This will catapult the solar sector to all time high. The SPWRA CEO has said we need a national comprehensive ALt Energy program like Europe. The cost of oil spilling is atrocious. It's not worth destroying our env, health, ways of life, fishing, tourism industry for oil.
SPWRA is my next door, I saw it created jobs for Cal first hand.