Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Graham: Climate bill needs business

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By JEANNE CUMMINGS

The energy reform bill to be released next week will include $54 billion in government-backed loan guarantees for the nuclear industry, roughly a threefold increase, as well as regulatory reforms to ease legal and permit issues that slow new plant construction, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Tuesday.

The measure will put a price on carbon emissions through penalties tailored to specific economic sectors, which is "far more business friendly" than a nationwide emissions cap-and-trade system that was in the energy bill passed by the House, Graham, a co-sponsor of the legislation, told POLITICO in an interview for the video series "The Green Divide."

The bill would also expand offshore drilling and — for the first time — permit states to share revenue from it, offer tax breaks for big manufacturers to make their facilities more energy efficient and encourage development of more hybrid automobiles and trucks fueled by natural gas.

Finally, the proposal would remove the Environmental Protection Agency's authority to regulate carbon, choking off an emerging debate between the White House and Congress.

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