Collins: GOP political support for carbon caps depends on where the money goes



Collins -- a leading GOP centrist -- has co-sponsored a version of cap-and-trade with Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) that would send three-fourths of the money from federal emissions permit auctions directly to consumers.

The architects of a competing climate plan -- Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) -- have said they will include elements of the Cantwell-Collins approach, but have not provided specifics. Kerry, Graham and Lieberman plan to unveil their bill next week.

There are several differences between the approaches.

Cantwell and Collins would cap carbon from "upstream" sectors like oil producers and coal mining companies.

The Kerry-Graham-Lieberman measure is under development, but they plan to create a cap-and-trade program applied to electric utilities that would later fold in other types of industrial plants.

Collins spoke Tuesday at an energy and climate forum hosted by the National Journal Group.