Two leading senators on Wednesday introduced a sweeping energy and climate change bill intended to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions while reshaping the energy sector for the 21st century.
Sens. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, and Joe Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut who sits with the Democratic caucus, said the proposal offered a broad-based approach that would end the nation's dependence on foreign oil while keeping U.S. industry competitive.
The bill addresses a range of energy issues including expanded nuclear power production, incentives for the coal industry to seek cleaner methods, money to develop alternative energy sources and programs to help U.S. industry in the transition to a low-carbon system.
On climate change, the bill seeks escalating reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in coming decades that match the levels set as goals by the Obama administration and contained in a separate House energy bill passed last year.
Although few expect the Senate to pass the bill before November's midterm congressional elections, its introduction was intended to keep up pressure for progress on addressing America's long-term energy needs while complying with global efforts to deal with climate change.
A Republican backer of the measure, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, withdrew last week from taking part in Wednesday's announcement because of what he called political gamesmanship by Senate Democrats in stating they would seek approval of an immigration reform bill before the energy measure.