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E&E News: Bennet seeks distance from cap and trade in Colo. Senate race
September 23, 2010

Posted by Matt Dempsey

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Bennet seeks distance from cap and trade in Colo. Senate race


Robin Bravender, E&E reporter

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Colorado's freshman senator is trying to distance himself from cap and trade in the midst of a tough re-election fight.

Democrat Michael Bennet -- who is being challenged by tea party-backed Republican Ken Buck -- appeared to walk back his support for the House-passed climate bill at a Sept. 11 debate in Grand Junction, Colo. A video of the debate was posted today by the National Review.

A Sept. 15 Rasmussen Reports poll showed Bennet trailing Buck by 4 points.

"I just want to clear up one piece of the record," Bennet said. "A few minutes ago, Ken said, 'Well, why would you support cap and trade?' I didn't support the cap-and-trade bill that passed the House.

"And I do think it's an unproductive conversation to be fighting about cap and trade or carbon tax or cap and [dividend]. What we should be talking about is, how do we break our reliance on foreign oil, how do we create jobs in the United States, and how do we burn cleaner energy and conserve energy that we have?"

In a letter to a reader of the online publication Grist posted last October, Bennet threw his support behind the sweeping House-passed climate and energy bill.

"The House of Representatives' passage of H.R. 2454 is a significant step in the right direction," he wrote. "The bill includes the implementation of a market-based cap-and-trade program that would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by requiring polluters to trade pollution allowances."

Bennet also issued a statement in July expressing disappointment with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) decision to put aside an effort to pass comprehensive climate legislation.

"I can't help but be underwhelmed by Washington today," Bennet said. "The country needs us to move forward on addressing climate change and creating a clean energy economy. Yet partisanship and gridlock have struck again. We need a comprehensive energy bill that puts a price on carbon pollution and incentivizes the investments in clean energy that will help create jobs and lessen our dependence on overseas oil."

Matt Dempsey, a spokesman for Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), seized on Bennet's comments today, circulating the National Review video to reporters. "Democrats continue to run away from cap and trade," he said.

Bennet's office did not respond to requests for comment by publication time.


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