Environmentalists insist on carbon cap, Bingaman says path forward isn't clear

Bingaman is the chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The panel has passed a bill that includes new incentives for energy efficiency programs and a mandate for renewable electricity production. Bingaman is also among a group of senators pushing an expansion of a renewable energy tax credit program.

Symons said that 2010 remained the best chance to pass climate legislation.

“I don’t think it’s a question of getting a little bit of something or nothing,” he said.

Bill Wicker, a spokesman for the committee, explains Bingaman's position on energy and climate legislation in a statement he emailed to us:

"Sen. Bingaman supports cap & trade.  He is among the Senate’s earliest and most constant supporters of a cap and trade approach to dealing with climate pollution.  Sen. Bingaman very much would like to see Congress pass the strongest possible bill that can help us with this problem.

However, with so many other things on the Senate’s agenda right now, Bingaman has said that the path forward for getting a cap and trade bill done this year is not clear.  He also has said that he doesn’t know if there are enough votes in the Senate for any of the cap and trade proposals that he has seen.

Bingaman told reporters this week that the Majority Leader has a difficult judgment and some very tactical decisions to make: whether to attach a cap & trade bill to energy provisions that have already been reported, or to package these energy provisions with climate legislation?  Bingaman added that his own sense at this time is that there is strong support in the Senate to do something significant to move our nation toward using more renewable energy and toward being more efficient with the energy that it already uses."