Friday, July 16, 2010

Inhofe: Democrats Split on Reid Global Warming Bill, Top Dems in the Dark on Details

In interviews this week with Lars Larson (listen/transcript) and Reid Mullins of KTOK (listen), Senator Inhofe detailed the Democrats' latest strategy for pushing costly cap-and-trade legislation. Senator Reid indicated this week that Democrats are considering bringing a cap-and-trade bill to the Senate Floor the week of July 26. 

Excerpt of the Lars Larson radio interview: 

Lars Larson: You’re the front man who’s going to have to fight cap-and-trade, but I understand you’re saying cap-and-trade is dead.   

Sen. Inhofe: You know, I can remember being on your program months ago and saying that, and it’s just as dead today as it was then.  They’re in denial right now, Lars.  They feel they have to do something for their liberal base.  The liberal base can’t figure out why we can’t have the largest tax increase in the history of this country that would accomplish nothing if we have Obama in the White House and they control the House and the Senate.  So, we just found out today, this is very current, that Harry Reid is looking at the 26th of this month, just a couple of weeks off, to bring up another energy bill.  He’s going to avoid cap-and-trade in terms of…he’s acting like he doesn’t know what it is and it’s not in his vocabulary, but nonetheless, it’s probably the last effort for a cap-and-trade bill.  Let me just tell you that they may have as many as 24 votes, but it takes 60.  They’re not even close.  

Lars Larson: Senator, when you say another energy bill, is Senator Reid going to bring something up that actually would propose to make more energy?  Or is this more just about controlling the energy business, because it doesn’t seem like the federal government does much lately that generates energy.  They seem to want to control things, but not to make more of it.

Sen. Inhofe: Well, they want to do away with energy.  And they’re using the tragedy in the Gulf – let me say it is a tragedy in the Gulf – but using that to advance their own liberal philosophy.  I went through the same thing 20 years ago with the Exxon Valdez, and when I went up there and the environmentalists were rejoicing at that time, Lars, saying we’re going to parlay this into stopping drilling and all that.  Well that’s exactly what’s happening right now.  So they are trying to use this as a way of, first of all, doing away with all fossil fuels, certainly stopping all drilling, all exploration, but using this to try to pass some kind of a cap-and-trade, some kind of a restriction on CO2.  And let’s remember, for those listeners who are listening to you right now who don’t agree with us, and I know you have some who are out there, that even Lisa Jackson, Obama’s appointee as the director of the EPA, has stated that if we were to pass any of these cap-and-trade bills, whether it was the McCain-Lieberman bill, the Warner-Lieberman bill, the Waxman-Markey bill, any of those, it would not reduce overall any of the emissions.  In fact, it could have the effect of increasing emissions, because it would chase our jobs out of the country, and they would have to go where they could find, you know, find energy.  So, it's something that even if they were successful, would not accomplish anything, but it would be the largest tax increase probably in history. 

LISTEN/READ: Democrats Split on Reid Global Warming Bill, Top Dems in the Dark on Details

LISTEN: Inhofe: Reid Does Not Have Votes for Cap and Tax Energy Bill


Inhofe: States, Employers Concerned About Actions of EPA Regional Office

Yesterday, Sen. Inhofe sent a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson regarding recent actions by EPA Region 6 Administrator Dr. Al Armendariz. The actions of Dr. Armendariz, detailed in the letter, threaten jobs, local economies, and could undermine the longstanding partnership between EPA and state and local agencies-a partnership that has effectively implemented and enforced environmental regulations for several decades.

Link to Letter

See also: NYT: Inhofe jabs Region 6 over Texas fight, oil and gas regs

"A number of concerns have been brought to my attention by state and local officials, as well as regulated businesses and their employees, about recent actions taken by EPA Region 6," Senator Inhofe said. "These actions could threaten jobs and local economies in the states over which Region 6 wields authority.  Environmental protection is an important priority, but it shouldn't exist in a vacuum, absent considerations about jobs and economic growth.

"In addition, environmental management and enforcement have long been shared by states and the federal government.  Yet Region 6 appears to be overriding the federal-state partnership that has worked successfully for over forty years.  The most effective means of protecting the environment can only come through this partnership, and it must be based on trust and mutual respect.

"Through my leadership position on the EPW Committee, I am sending a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to get more information. Administrator Jackson and I have a strong working relationship, so I am hopeful we can address these concerns and restore the federal-state partnership in Region 6."

GAO: Current CCS Technology Plagued By High Costs, Uncertain Results

Sen. Inhofe and Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio), released a report today by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on the status, cost, and reliability of current carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology for coal-fired power plants.  Based on GAO's survey of stakeholders, including utilities and state regulators, current CCS technology would increase electricity costs by 30 to 80 percent, reduce electricity output between 15 and 32 percent, and increase water consumption at power plants. 

Link to Report

GAO also found that commercial deployment of CCS in coal plants over the next 10 to 15 years presents "significant challenges."  In the meantime, legal barriers are blocking efficiency gains and lower emissions, at existing coal-fired power plants.  Also, ultra-supercritical coal plants, the construction of which is opposed by environmental groups and the Obama Administration, can achieve one-third fewer CO2 emissions than average coal plants. 

Senator Inhofe released the following statement:

Inhofe: "I support advancing cleaner, more efficient technologies to produce electricity, but we must recognize that CCS technology is far from mature.   Attempts to force it into existence through a massive cap-and-trade tax, hoping it will work at a reasonable cost without an appropriate legal framework and without the infrastructure needed to support it-that's simply irresponsible public policy that will burden consumers with higher electricity costs and threaten America's energy security. 

"GAO's report also shows that lawsuits and regulatory barriers are preventing the realization of significant gains in efficiency at existing power plants.  What's more, GAO notes that new, clean, ‘ultra-supercritical' coal-fired power plants can reduce CO2 emissions by 33 percent relative to the average coal plant.  Yet environmentalists, and the Obama Administration, have made the conscious decision to block their construction.  This is rich in irony: it's a policy blocking environmental progress, economic growth, and the job creation the Administration is hoping for."

Highlights from the GAO report: 

  -  "In addition, nearly all stakeholders cited as challenges the lack of a regulatory framework to govern the permanent storage of large amounts of CO2 in saline formations and legal uncertainty regarding long-term liability for the storage of CO2."

  -  "Most stakeholders told GAO that CCS would increase electricity costs, and some reports estimate that current CCS technologies would increase electricity costs by about 30 to 80 percent at plants using these technologies. DOE has also reported that CCS could increase water consumption at power plants."

  -  "While DOE, electric industry groups, and other stakeholders have set goals to commercially deploy CCS in coal plants in the next 10 to 15 years, they acknowledge that these goals present significant challenges. In particular, they have highlighted the large costs to install and operate current CCS technologies. In 2007, DOE estimated the cost to install current CCS technologies was 85 percent higher for plants with post-combustion capture and was 36 percent higher for pre-combustion capture at IGCC plants, compared to comparable plants without CCS."

  - "In addition, the large amount of energy that current CCS technologies require to operate-known as parasitic load-reduces the electricity plants can sell and raises operating costs. Parasitic load is estimated to be between 21 percent and 32 percent of plant output for post-combustion CO2 capture and between 15 percent and 22 percent for pre-combustion CO2 capture."

  -  "Similarly, officials from one state public utility commission reported that they considered CCS immature and were unlikely to approve cost recovery for such a project in the foreseeable future."

  -  "In addition, nearly all stakeholders cited as challenges the lack of a regulatory framework to govern the permanent storage of large amounts of CO2 in saline formations and legal uncertainty regarding long-term liability for the storage of CO2."

  -  "From a legal perspective, most stakeholders reported that making efficiency upgrades to the existing fleet of coal power plants was limited by the prospect of triggering the Clean Air Act's New Source Review (NSR) requirements--additional requirements that may apply when a plant makes a major modification, a physical or operational change that would result in a significant net increase in emissions."

  -  "Some utility officials also said CCS could lead to a decline in the ability of individual plants to operate reliably because a power plant might need to shut down if any of the three components (capture, transport, and storage) of CCS became unavailable. In addition, more electricity sources would need to make up for the higher parasitic load associated with CCS. The National Coal Council has also reported temporary declines in reliability during past deployments of new coal technologies."

  -  "For example, DOE has estimated that efficiency improvements to the existing coal fleet could reduce CO2 emissions by 100 million tons annually, or about a 5 to 10 percent reduction in overall emissions from these plants."

   -  "An ultra-supercritical plant emits about one-third less CO2 than an average plant in the United States."

Inhofe Introduces Bill To Improve Central Oklahoman Water Supply

In an effort to meet the growing demands for water in central Oklahoma, Sen. Inhofe Tuesday introduced S.3573, the Lake Thunderbird Efficient Use Act of 2010. The legislation builds on previous work during the 109th and 110th Congresses by both Inhofe and U.S. Rep. Tom Cole (OK-4) that authorized a feasibility study to augment water supplies of the Central Oklahoma Master Conservancy District which serves central Oklahoma, specifically Norman, Midwest City and Del City.

The legislation introduced by Inhofe is the next step toward simply authorizing the means to store excess water capacity at Lake Thunderbird to help meet the ever increasing water needs of the growing communities served by the District. The new measure was developed with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the Central Oklahoma Master Conservancy District. The bill is consistent with Inhofe's continuing work to assist the central Oklahoma area in meeting their water supply needs.

"Having an adequate water supply is vital for sustaining growth and economic development, and this bill is essential for current and future water use planning in the central Oklahoma," said Inhofe. "Through my leadership position on the EPW Committee, I have worked to provide necessary funding and changes in federal law when necessary to enable our communities to meet public infrastructure needs."

"The District takes its job very seriously in providing water service to the Central Oklahoma area and its population of over 200,000 residents," said Randy Worden, General Manager of the Central Oklahoma Conservancy District. "With passage of the proposed legislation for the ability to import and store non-project water, the District can plan for and provide water service for its customers well into the future. This will allow its customer cities to continue to grow and provide economic development opportunities for improving the quality of life for their citizens."

Policy Beat: Peterson Institutes Prediction of 203,000 Net Jobs Gained is Just More Spin

"The first thing the intellect does with an object is to class it along with something else. But any object that is infinitely important to us and awakens our devotion feels to us also as if it must be sui generis and unique. Probably a crab would be filled with a sense of personal outrage if it could hear us class it without ado or apology as a crustacean, and thus dispose of it. ‘I am no such thing,' it would say; ‘I am MYSELF, MYSELF alone.'" -William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience

We always eagerly await the next iteration of cap-and-trade legislation, for with it comes the inevitable refrain that "this time, it's different."  Claims that cap-and-trade means fewer jobs, higher energy prices for consumers, a weaker economy-well, maybe for those other bills, advocates say, but not this one.  The American Power Act, aka the Kerry-Lieberman bill, is deemed a special case, because, according to one prominent Senate supporter, this time "we got the balance right."  

That same supporter claims that, unlike those other unbalanced cap-and-trade bills, the Kerry-Lieberman bill will actually create jobs-203,000 jobs, in fact, according to a recent analysis by the Peterson Institute. Yet sadly for the bill's authors, the bill is not sui generis; it's fairly typical: close scrutiny of the Peterson Institute study shows Kerry-Lieberman is no different than Waxman-Markey and every other failed version of cap-and-trade-jobs will be lost and consumers will suffer. 

According to the study, between 2011 and 2020, Kerry-Lieberman would actually kill 479,000 jobs.  After tallying the jobs created from, among other things, "clean energy investment," "adaptation," and "energy efficiency," the Institute subtracts those lost in key sectors of the economy because of Kerry-Lieberman.  Consider the fossil fuel industry, which would lose 72,000 jobs because of "lower demand for fossil fuels and foregone construction of new fossil fuel power generating capacity. This includes direct, indirect, and induced jobs as well."  The study goes on: "We further subtract the jobs lost when households have less money to spend on other goods because energy has become more expensive."  The number subtracted?  305,000. 

Then there's Kerry-Lieberman's "macroeconomic effects" caused by "changes in consumer demand."  "This includes," the authors found, "changes in consumer demand for non-energy goods that are more expensive because of higher energy costs, reduction in investment in non-energy sectors because additional investment in power generation has pushed up interest rates, and changes in the US current account position resulting from a net increase in US investment demand."  Jobs lost: 102,000. 

As for those 203,000 net jobs created, the Peterson Institute has some interesting things to say.  After the bill's free allocation of emissions allowances phases out, "resulting in higher energy prices," the "net effect" is that "after 2025, some of the employment gains in the first decade are clawed back, bringing the 2011-30 average back in line with business as usual."  The authors go on to note that, "While outside the window of this analysis, energy prices will likely continue to increase beyond 2030 as GHG abatement costs get higher."

As supporters seek to advance yet another version of cap-and-trade-this time one confined to the utility sector-the Peterson Institute study seems to confirm the proverb, "the more things change, the more they stay the same."

In the News... The Atlantic: Climategate and the Big Green Lie

The Atlantic  

Climategate and the Big Green Lie

By Clive Crook

July 14, 2010

Link to Article

See Also: WSJ Op-Ed: The Climategate Whitewash Continues

See Also: Newsweek: A Green Retreat

By way of preamble, let me remind you where I stand on climate change. I think climate science points to a risk that the world needs to take seriously. I think energy policy should be intelligently directed towards mitigating this risk. I am for a carbon tax. I also believe that the Climategate emails revealed, to an extent that surprised even me (and I am difficult to surprise), an ethos of suffocating groupthink and intellectual corruption. The scandal attracted enormous attention in the US, and support for a new energy policy has fallen. In sum, the scientists concerned brought their own discipline into disrepute, and set back the prospects for a better energy policy.

I had hoped, not very confidently, that the various Climategate inquiries would be severe. This would have been a first step towards restoring confidence in the scientific consensus. But no, the reports make things worse. At best they are mealy-mouthed apologies; at worst they are patently incompetent and even wilfully wrong. The climate-science establishment, of which these inquiries have chosen to make themselves a part, seems entirely incapable of understanding, let alone repairing, the harm it has done to its own cause.

The Penn State inquiry exonerating Michael Mann -- the paleoclimatologist who came up with "the hockey stick" -- would be difficult to parody. Three of four allegations are dismissed out of hand at the outset: the inquiry announces that, for "lack of credible evidence", it will not even investigate them. (At this, MIT's Richard Lindzen tells the committee, "It's thoroughly amazing. I mean these issues are explicitly stated in the emails. I'm wondering what's going on?" The report continues: "The Investigatory Committee did not respond to Dr Lindzen's statement. Instead, [his] attention was directed to the fourth allegation.") Moving on, the report then says, in effect, that Mann is a distinguished scholar, a successful raiser of research funding, a man admired by his peers -- so any allegation of academic impropriety must be false.

You think I exaggerate?

This level of success in proposing research, and obtaining funding to conduct it, clearly places Dr. Mann among the most respected scientists in his field. Such success would not have been possible had he not met or exceeded the highest standards of his profession for proposing research...

Had Dr. Mann's conduct of his research been outside the range of accepted practices, it would have been impossible for him to receive so many awards and recognitions, which typically involve intense scrutiny from scientists who may or may not agree with his scientific conclusions...

Clearly, Dr. Mann's reporting of his research has been successful and judged to be outstanding by his peers. This would have been impossible had his activities in reporting his work been outside of accepted practices in his field.

In short, the case for the prosecution is never heard. Mann is asked if the allegations (well, one of them) are true, and says no. His record is swooned over. Verdict: case dismissed, with apologies that Mann has been put to such trouble.

Further "vindication" of the Climategate emailers was to follow, of course, in Muir Russell's equally probing investigation. To be fair, Russell manages to issue a criticism or two. He says the scientists were sometimes "misleading" -- but without meaning to be (a plea which, in the case of the "trick to hide the decline", is an insult to one's intelligence). On the apparent conspiracy to subvert peer review, it found that the "allegations cannot be upheld" -- but, as the impressively even-handed Fred Pearce of the Guardian notes, this was partly on the grounds that "the roles of CRU scientists and others could not be distinguished from those of colleagues. There was 'team responsibility'." Edward Acton, vice-chancellor of the university which houses CRU, calls this "exoneration".

I am glad to see The Economist, which I criticized for making light of the initial scandal, taking a balanced view of these unsatisfactory proceedings. My only quarrels with its report are quibbles. For instance, in the second paragraph it says:

The reports conclude that the science of climate is sound...

Actually, they don't, as the article's last paragraph makes clear:

An earlier report on climategate from the House of Commons assumed that a subsequent probe by a panel under Lord Oxburgh, a former academic and chairman of Shell, would deal with the science. The Oxburgh report, though, sought to show only that the science was not fraudulent or systematically flawed, not that it was actually reliable. And nor did Sir Muir, with this third report, think judging the science was his job.

Like Pearce, The Economist rightly draws attention to the failure of the Russell inquiry to ask Phil Jones of the CRU whether he actually deleted any emails to defeat FoI requests. It calls this omission "rather remarkable". Pearce calls it "extraordinary". Myself, I would prefer to call it "astonishing and indefensible". I don't see how, having spotted this, the magazine can conclude that the report, overall, was "thorough, but it will not satisfy all the critics." (Well, the critics make such unreasonable demands! Look into the charges, they say. Hear from the other side. Ask the obvious questions. It never stops: you just can't satisfy these people.)

However, The Economist is calling for the IPCC's Rajendra Pachauri to go. That's good.

So where does this leave us? Walter Russell Mead is always worth reading on this subject, and I usually agree with him -- but I think his summing up in this case is not quite right.

Greens who feared and climate skeptics who hoped that the rash of investigations following Climategate and Glaciergate and all the other problems would reveal some gaping obvious flaws in the science of climate change were watching the wrong thing. The Big Green Lie (or Delusion, to be charitable) isn't so much that climate change is happening and that it is very likely caused or at least exacerbated by human activity. The Big Lie is that the green movement is a source of coherent or responsible counsel about what to do.

He's right, of course, that the green movement is not trusted as an adviser on what to do. So what? Its counsel on policy is not required. Nor, for that matter, is a complex international treaty of the sort that Copenhagen failed to produce. Congress and the administration can get to the right policy -- an explicit or implicit carbon tax; subsidies for low-carbon energy -- without the greens' input, so long as public opinion is convinced that the problem is real and needs to be addressed. It's not the extreme or otherwise ill-advised policy recommendations of the greens that have turned opinion against action of any kind, though I grant you they're no help. It's the diminished credibility of the claim that we have a problem in the first place. That is why Climategate mattered. And that is why these absurd "vindications" of the climate scientists involved also matter.

The economic burdens of mitigating climate change will not be shouldered until a sufficient number of voters believe the problem is real, serious, and pressing. Restoring confidence in climate science has to come first. That, in turn, means trusting voters with all of the doubts and unanswered questions -- with inconvenient data as well as data that confirm the story -- instead of misleading them (unintentionally, of course) into believing that everything is cut and dried. The inquiries could have started that process. They have further delayed it.

In the News... Capito: Note to EPA: Coal Isnt a Dirty Word


Op-Ed: Note to EPA: 'Coal' isn't a dirty word

By Rep. Shelley Moore Capito

July 12, 2010

Link to Op-Ed

Link to EPW Minority Staff Report

Through the Environmental Protection Agency, Washington continues to push an anti-coal agenda. It amounts to an assault on an industry that employs more than 500,000 hardworking Americans and supplies nearly half of America's electricity.

The EPA's attempts to control climate change through regulation and stall the approval of mining permits can only lead to coal states like West Virginia bearing the brunt of poorly thought-out policies that translate into greater job loss and higher energy costs.

President Barack Obama is intent on passing legislation to cap greenhouse gas emissions. Should Congress fail to act, the EPA will exert its regulatory authority in an unprecedented manner that will have far-reaching effects on nearly every sector of the U.S. economy - from higher prices at the gas pump to skyrocketing utility bills.

The EPA cannot unilaterally set an agenda without the buy in of the American people. Decisions made by the EPA must take into account the real cost to families, their livelihoods and plans for the future.

West Virginia already is feeling the burden of excessive regulation with no consideration of our future.

In an effort to punish the coal industry, the EPA has essentially halted the review and approval of mining permits across the Appalachian region. Consequently, tens of thousands of jobs in my state and across the country are at risk because the EPA has been purposefully slow to act.

According to a recent study by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee's minority staff, the Appalachian region could lose one-fourth of its coal-mining jobs if the EPA continues its delay tactics. Workers in the transportation, equipment manufacturing and utility industries will also see a reduction in demand if the coal industry is dismantled.

With national unemployment still hovering around 10 percent, and no relief in sight, families can ill afford to lose these good-paying jobs.

We absolutely cannot afford a scenario where delayed policy decisions lead to a slow bleed of jobs and planned investment throughout America's coal country. Energy producers expect and deserve certainty and clarity to conduct their business, but the current administration continues to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to their concerns.

We all agree that we must pass an energy policy that respects our environment and produces energy in an environmentally friendly way. But we also must encourage job growth, economic prosperity and innovation in energy technology.

The out-of-control regulation authority will cost American jobs, increase energy prices and threaten our national security. We must all work to end our dependence on foreign oil and expand our energy sources, and that starts with taking advantage of resources that are affordable and abundant right here in America.

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) is co-founder of the Congressional Coal Caucus.

In the News... WSJ Editorial: The New-Old Drilling Ban

The Wall Street Journal 

Editorial: The New-Old Drilling Ban

Salazar to Gulf workers: Move to Egypt.

July 13, 2010

Link to Editorial

When it comes to a showdown between jobs and ideology, the Obama Administration never fails to choose the latter. The latest example is Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's decision yesterday to reimpose a ban on Gulf drilling after the courts had declared his first moratorium illegal.

Federal Judge Martin Feldman in late June halted the Administration's six-month deep water drilling moratorium, saying it was arbitrary, ignored science and underestimated the economic harm to the Gulf region. Last week the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals refused to reinstate the ban.

Mr. Salazar's response is to fiddle with the ban's details in the hope of passing judicial muster. Instead of banning all drilling deeper than 500 feet, he now bans all drilling by floating rigs (the only equipment that drills in deep water). He also set a firmer moratorium deadline of November 30. The bottom line is that deep water drilling remains off-limits for months to come.

Mr. Salazar hopes this ban will fly in the courts because he now has an "extensive record" showing that drilling "would pose a threat of serious, irreparable, or immediate harm or damage to the marine, coastal and human environment." None of that impressed Senator Mary Landrieu (D., La.), who slammed the new-old ban, pointing out that industry had safely drilled 42,000 other Gulf wells, making the BP spill the "exception." She also noted that the ban threatened tens of thousands of Gulf jobs.

Even as Mr. Salazar retooled his moratorium, the first deep water drilling rig was preparing to leave the Gulf in the wake of the U.S. ban. Diamond Offshore said it is relocating its Ocean Endeavour drilling rig to Egypt, immediately, in a contract that will run at least through mid-2011. Diamond CEO Larry Dickerson said "We greatly regret the loss of U.S. jobs that will result from this rig relocation."

No doubt Louisiana will, too, not that the Obama Administration seems to mind.

Clock Winding Down - Sense of Desperation - Mounting Wall of Resistance - Swing Vote Dems Concerned - Nelson Says No

  Inhofe EPW News Roundup

E&E News: Clock Winding Down on Senate's Carbon Cap Efforts  - Senate Democrats hoping to negotiate a scaled-down carbon cap on power plants are running out of time to make that happen. At the most, they have two weeks to convince Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) that they have the 60 votes needed to pass the bill, something Reid has said is a prerequisite before he includes it in the broader energy bill expected on the floor this month. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), who has emerged as the leading negotiator behind the utility-only effort, conceded as much yesterday. "The schedule is not our friend," he told reporters.

Congress Daily:  Carbon-Pricing Plan Might Not Clear Moderate Hurdles  - Senate Democrats working on a last-ditch effort to price carbon emissions of power plants face a mounting wall of resistance from moderate senators in both parties whose support is essential for the passage of any type of energy and climate bill.  Even Democrats with some confidence that the Senate can coalesce around a utility-only bill, such as Sens. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., and Tom Carper, D-Del., acknowledge that getting support from their Democratic colleagues like Sens. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas and John (Jay) Rockefeller of West Virginia will be difficult.

Politico: 'Brown Dogs' complicate climate plan  -  Several swing-vote Democratic senators are concerned about the implications that a carbon cap would have on electricity prices, especially for their low-income residents. They also don't want to vote for legislation that would diminish demand for coal. McCaskill, Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Byron Dorgan and Kent Conrad of North Dakota, Ohio's Sherrod Brown, Virginia's Jim Webb and West Virginia's John Rockefeller all have taken vocal stands on these issues.  "I've never been a huge fan of cap and trade or call it what you want," Pryor told POLITICO on Thursday. "What I've told everybody is that I would at least wait and see what they get on paper before I make a decision, but I do have concerns about it."

Congress Daily: Reid Now Faces Grumbling From Liberals Over Measure - "There [are] a lot of very strong feelings about it [an energy-only bill], including some in the Democratic caucus whose position now is that they will not vote for an energy-only bill because they think it is a shame," Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., said Thursday. He said passing a bill that addresses only the oil spill would be a "very serious lost opportunity." He and Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., are scrambling to get utilities to support their plan to price carbon emissions of power plants only while maintaining support from environmental groups. Kerry also said a lot of his Democratic colleagues would not support an energy-only bill. He expressed a sense of desperation about his efforts, signaling a noticeable shift from the confidence he had a few weeks ago about passing a utility-only climate bill. "I'm at a point in this thing where it's tough," Kerry said Thursday. "Just let it fall where it falls. Let the chips fall."

Politico: Nelson says no to climate vote - Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska said Thursday he would not support a procedural vote later this month to begin debate on a climate bill that includes a cap on electric utility emissions, a declaration that underscores the tough climb that Majority Leader Harry Reid will have in trying to cobble together a 60-vote supermajority on the controversial issue.  "A carbon tax or trade piece would significantly increase the utility rates in Nebraska for businesses, agriculture and individuals," the Nebraska Democrat told POLITICO.

Roll Call: Reid Fuels Anxiety With Energy Debate - To top off their concerns, Democrats say a bill with any kind of cap-and-trade element will never secure the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster by Members of both parties, and given the partisan atmosphere of the Senate, many suggested that even a relatively modest bill would not survive a filibuster.  Though Democrats said they did not know what Reid's ultimate endgame is, some posited that he may be dangling a utility-only cap-and-trade system out there only to prove to its supporters that he can't get the votes.

E&E News: Reid to unveil 4-part energy, climate bill this month - Reid sidestepped a question about whether his bill would impose a "cap" on utilities' carbon emissions. "Those words are not in my vocabulary," he said. "We're going to work on pollution."Reid added that he was working with the Finance Committee on the utilities title. But Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) told reporters just before Reid's comments that he was unsure if the bill would limit carbon emissions."I don't know," Baucus said. "Senator Reid has to make that decision."

Congress Daily:  Efforts To Pass A Bill Could Run Out Of Gas Before Recess  -"I don't know why they're putting forward this artificially self-imposed deadline," Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, said Tuesday. Calling the Democrats' timeline for the energy and climate bill arbitrary and unrealistic, Snowe said it takes patience to build support for any energy measure, especially one that prices carbon. A statement she released a couple weeks ago expressing support for such a proposal galvanized Democrats and flung her into the center of the debate. Both her endorsement of Democrats' efforts to price carbon emissions and her skepticism Tuesday are telling, given her influence.

Politico:  I don't want to lose again (again)  - Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said she supports tackling climate change through a bill that starts with the electric utility industry, which produces about a third of the nation's greenhouse gases. But she isn't sure the votes are there and fears the issue could be lost for a long time if Reid can't muster the 60 votes needed to thwart a filibuster.  "The question is, we've lost three times, I don't want to lose again," she said, referring to Senate floor votes on climate legislation in 2003, 2005 and 2008 that never received more than 48 votes.

E&E News: Reid, targeting power plant emissions, hopes support arrives along the way  - No details were provided, however, and the vague announcement yesterday comes as efforts to find 60 senators to support utility emission caps appear to be stuck, with about 20 workdays remaining this summer. Reid hopes to unveil the patchwork bill next week. A handful of key Democrats and Republicans, meanwhile, remain unconvinced about power-sector caps, which they fear could raise electricity prices for ratepayers and businesses during a recession.

E&E News : Senators cool to idea  - With the exception of Snowe, most moderate Republicans remain cool to the idea of a utilities-only approach. Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) said a "pure energy bill" without a price on carbon is the only thing that could pass in the next few months. "I don't think [a utilities-only cap-and-trade bill] is viable before the election, and I think we need an energy package before the election," Gregg said. "I don't like or dislike it," Gregg said of a utilities-only approach. "I just don't think it is practical in this climate to think you are going to do a cap-and-trade bill in what do we have, four weeks left, maybe? Heck, they can't even cap the oil well in the Gulf -- that's taken them three months. So I don't think we can practically do it. But we could pass a very aggressive energy bill ... we could do that."

Bloomberg U.S. Election-Year Pressures Might Sink Carbon Caps  - Dorgan told reporters yesterday that the carbon market created by cap-and-trade legislation is the wrong way for the U.S. government to bring down greenhouse gases. "I don't support cap-and-trade," Dorgan said. With the "very limited time left" to debate legislation this year, lawmakers should instead try to pass a bill that includes the renewable-electricity and energy-efficiency mandates, both of which will help reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions," Dorgan said.