Lugar seeks ‘practical’ energy plan

The White House is courting Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) as it pushes for broad climate change and energy legislation, but Lugar signaled this week that he’s just not that into the carbon capping part, at least for now.

Lugar on Tuesday circulated an outline of what he called “practical” legislation that contains steps to curb oil use and boost alternative energy that steers clear of mandatory greenhouse gas limits.

“Currently, rhetoric and legislation are focused primarily at climate change while most Americans are more interested in oil reductions and economic impacts,” he said in a prepared statement. “We should concentrate this year on those policies that will save energy and money. Such a bill can bring large and measurable carbon reductions by reducing energy usage and foreign oil dependency.”

Lugar’s “policy outline” includes: A national building “performance standard” and incentives (such as low-interest loans) for home and building retrofits; tougher appliance standards; a nationwide “clean energy standard” that would mandate use of low-carbon electricity sources including renewables, nuclear and coal with carbon capture and storage; enhanced offshore oil-and-gas drilling; fully implementing the existing national biofuels mandate, and several other measures.