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

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThis week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Senate panel clears controversial Trump court pick Republicans warn election results are 'wake-up call' for Trump MORE (R-Maine) said Friday that lawmakers should consider attaching the climate change bill she co-sponsored with Sen. Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellSenators introduce cybersecurity workforce expansion bill Boeing chief faces anger over 737 crashes at hearing Zuckerberg launches public defense of Facebook as attacks mount 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 KerryDemocrats debate how to defeat Trump: fight or heal GOP senators press State Department for Hunter Biden, Burisma records Krystal Ball hits media over questions on Sanders's electability MORE (D-Mass.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamImpeachment week: Trump probe hits crucial point Graham on the impeachment inquiry: 'I made my mind up. There's nothing there' Rand Paul says Trump has 'every right' to withhold Ukraine aid over corruption 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 ReidLobbying world Democrats aim to protect Grand Canyon from 'imminent' drilling threat Warren's careful approach with media pays off 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.