Senate Democrats Push Climate Change Measure

Date: September 24, 2015

Bill Designed To Cut Emissions, Boost Clean Energy Use

On Tuesday, Senate Democrats, led by top Senate Energy Committee Democrat Maria Cantwell (D-WA), unveiled energy legislation designed to curb emissions and promote clean energy. Reuters reported the bill calls for a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 34% by 2025, which is more aggressive than the Obama Administration’s current plan of reducing emissions to between 26% and 28% of 2005 levels by 2025. The bill also imposes an energy efficiency mandate that requires utilities to have 20% savings in energy by 2030, and extends current clean energy tax credits until 2018. The current wind production tax credit is due to end Dec. 31, Reuters noted. The bill would scrap oil and gas production and refining tax credits, however. Commenting on the bill, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called it “a refreshing reprieve from the tired Republican mantra of ‘drill baby, drill.’” Sen. Wyden praised the measure, saying it would “make it attractive for everyone in America to be invested in clean energy.” Of note, Reuters said, is the bill’s lack of a mandatory price for carbon emissions. Cantwell explained, “Change happens incrementally. What I don’t want to pass up on is the opportunity to reduce carbon now.”

What Happens Next

The New York Times said the measure “has no chance of passage in the Republican-controlled Congress,” but that Democrats think “forcefully pushing for climate change policies could help them win control of the Senate in 2016.” If they are successful in that effort, regaining the majority, then the plan “to enact climate legislation along the lines of the Cantwell bill.” While this means that for the short term, the odds of climate change regulations passing are quite slim, this measure could be replicated for passage in 2017.

What This Means For Small Businesses

Climate change regulations place high cost burdens on small businesses, which are forced to adjust methods of doing business in order to lower their emissions or energy usage. Passage of this legislation would further burden business owners, particularly when it comes to energy usage. Mandating additional clean energy use means electricity costs could be passed from utilities to consumers, including small businesses. This legislation is anti-business.

Additional Reading

The Huffington Post, The Hill, Platts, and Bloomberg News also covered the proposal.

Note: this article is intended to keep small business owners up on the latest news. It does not necessarily represent the policy stances of NFIB.

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