Sen. Sanders sees 'bonanza' for coal in emerging climate bill

Sanders (I-Vt.) argues the bill could become a "bonanza" for the coal industry.

“I have serious concerns about provisions that could harm our environment and provide new federal government support for polluters,” Sanders, a leading advocate of greenhouse gas emission curbs, wrote to Kerry last week.

Kerry (D-Mass.) and Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) are trying to write compromise climate legislation that could attract support from centrist Democrats and Republicans. Their effort has become the main focus of efforts in the Senate to curb greenhouse gas emissions. They have yet to produce an actual bill but recently provided members an outline in a closed-door meeting.

Sanders expressed his reservations after the meeting, as Ben blogged about here.

In his three-page letter sent Friday to Kerry, Sanders was more explicit in making the case that the so-called “climate trio” are in danger of giving away the store to attract the votes.

Sanders objects to “preempting” state efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions with federal legislation, and he opposes new subsidies for nuclear power, offshore drilling or “clean coal” projects.

“I do not want to see a global warming bill become a bonanza for the coal industry,” Sanders wrote. He also criticized the bill effort for not providing enough support for energy efficiency or renewable energy projects.

Sanders's letter serves as another reminder that the Kerry-Graham-Lieberman bill will face the same political hurdles other climate bills have faced. The three seem to have made strides in reducing unease among some powerful business lobbies about climate legislation. But the concessions they appear willing to make could cost them support in other quarters. For example, ten Democrats last week warned against provisions to encourage more offshore drilling.



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