Grassley: Energy bill likely in 2010; cap-and-trade unlikely

The Senate will move on energy and environmental issues in 2010, but not cap-and-trade legislation, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) asserted Tuesday.

Grassley said that the Senate is likely to take up an energy bill, perhaps including a renewable electricity standard, but not the controversial emissions reduction system approved last year by the House but left undone by the Senate.

"I think you can expect everything but cap-and-trade," Grassley said in a conference call with agricultural reporters. "I think it's fair to say that there will be an energy bill taken up."

Grassley said the energy legislation is likely to follow along the framework crafted by Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), with tax provisions added in by the Senate Finance Committee, on which Grassley serves as the top Republican member.

The Iowa Republican said that the bill may include a renewable electricity standard as a key component, a provision which would require utility companies to generate a certain portion of their energy from renewable resources by a target date.

Grassley acknowledged that that provision may not necessarily be popular, but that there may be room for compromise among senators.

"Now I think it has a tough time getting through the Senate," he said. "I like renewable portfolio standards, and I would vote for some compromise in that area."

A bipartisan group of senators, led by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Jospeh Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), are also still hoping to cobble together compromise environmental legislation that would require emissions reductions, but also expand nuclear energy production and allow limited offshore drilling.

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