Sen. Collins suggests attaching her climate-change legislation to energy bill

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsCoronavirus deal key to Republicans protecting Senate majority From a Republican donor to Senate GOP: Remove marriage penalty or risk alienating voters The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump's visit to battleground Ohio overshadowed by coronavirus MORE (R-Maine) said Friday that lawmakers should consider attaching the climate change bill she co-sponsored with Sen. Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: Mike Roman says 3M on track to deliver 2 billion respirators globally and 1 billion in US by end of year; US, Pfizer agree to 100M doses of COVID-19 vaccine that will be free to Americans Overnight Energy: Supreme Court reinstates fast-track pipeline permit except for Keystone XL | Judge declines to reverse Dakota Access Pipeline shutdown OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Watchdog accuses Commerce of holding up 'Sharpiegate' report | Climate change erases millennia of cooling: study | Senate nixes proposal limiting Energy Department's control on nuclear agency budget MORE (D-Wash.) to separate energy legislation on the Senate floor.

Such a move would bypass the broad energy and climate plan that Sens. John KerryJohn Forbes KerryThe Memo: Biden faces balancing act Budowsky: Trump October surprise could devastate GOP Hillicon Valley: Democrats request counterintelligence briefing | New pressure for election funding | Republicans urge retaliation against Chinese hackers MORE (D-Mass.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSeveral GOP lawmakers express concern over Trump executive orders Graham says he appreciates Trump orders, but 'would much prefer a congressional agreement' Sunday shows preview: White House, congressional Democrats unable to breach stalemate over coronavirus relief MORE (R-S.C.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) plan to unveil next month.

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That Senate trio has vowed to fold elements of the Cantwell-Collins “cap and dividend” plan introduced last year – which is called the CLEAR Act – into their long-awaited bill.

But Collins noted in an interview with the Clean Skies network that while she and Cantwell “wait with great interest” to see what Kerry, Graham and Lieberman come up with, the trio has yet to produce an actual bill.

“Another option is for an energy bill, there is a bipartisan energy bill with Senators Bingaman and Murkowski, to be brought to the Senate floor, and we could add the CLEAR Act to that bill, that might be a way to proceed as well,” Collins said.

Collins is referring to broad energy legislation that the Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved last June.

That measure – which Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) wants brought to the floor – includes new support for energy efficiency and imposes a national renewable electricity mandate.

 The bill also expands oil-and-gas drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. But it does not include limits on greenhouse gas emissions.

The CLEAR Act that Cantwell and Collins are pushing would set limits on “upstream” sources of carbon dioxide – oil-and-gas producers, coal companies and petroleum importers – entering the U.S. economy, and return the bulk of the money from federal auctions of carbon permits to consumers directly. It would also place very tight restrictions on carbon permit trading that freeze Wall Street banks out of the emissions trading market.

Kerry, Graham and Lieberman plan to use a different approach that includes, among other things, a cap-and-trade system for power plants and fees on oil companies to address motor fuel greenhouse gas emissions.

They say some ideas on consumer refunds and carbon trading restrictions will be drawn from the Cantwell-Collins plan, but have not provided specifics. 

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidMcConnell goes hands-off on coronavirus relief bill Kamala Harris to young Black women at conference: 'I want you to be ambitious' Obama calls filibuster 'Jim Crow relic,' backs new Voting Rights Act bill MORE (D-Nev.) hopes to bring energy and climate legislation to the floor this year, but what the Senate might take up – and when – remains in flux.