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Senate GHG bill heads to EPA for analysis

27 Apr 2010 21:51 (+01:00 GMT)
Senate GHG bill heads to EPA for analysis

Washington, 27 April (Argus) — Bipartisan Senate energy and climate legislation will be sent to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for analysis, but the bill's future remains uncertain as Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) continues to withhold his support over immigration politics.

Sen. John Kerry (D-Massachusetts), one of Graham's partners in writing the legislation, told reporters it will go to EPA with the Republican's consent. “So we're full-speed ahead folks, notwithstanding this moment of public stall, and we hope the issue can be resolved soon,” Kerry told reporters.

A spokesperson for Kerry said the bill has not yet been given to the agency but it will be soon.

That Kerry, Graham and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Connecticut) have agreed to give the bill to EPA for analysis signals they remain hopeful of Senate action this year. The soonest action would be in early June, after EPA completes is modeling. But there are as yet no signs that Graham is ready to rejoin the effort. Graham dropped his support for the bill over the weekend, citing Democratic leadership plans to move first with immigration reform legislation. The three met yesterday evening but were unable to come to an agreement on how to move forward.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) told reporters today he considers both issues “equally vital to our economic and national security,” and that he has tried to convince Graham that energy will move first because there is no immigration bill at the moment.

“I am committed to doing both in this Congress,” Reid said.

The Obama administration has also said it would like to see Congress tackle both issues this year. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said yesterday that the administration does not see this as an “either-or” situation. “We can make progress on more than just one issue,” he said.

Several business and environmental groups have urged the senators to resume work on the legislation, originally set to be unveiled yesterday, as soon as possible. “Americans need and deserve a comprehensive climate and energy policy that will reinvigorate our economy, create American jobs, unleash American innovation, secure our energy independence and protect our environment,” the US Climate Action Partnership said in a statement.

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