Climate bill analysis to take up to eight weeks: EIA

WASHINGTON Thu Apr 29, 2010 5:10pm EDT

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Energy Information Administration will take up to eight weeks to analyze the stalled Senate climate bill after receiving most of its details from the office of Senator John Kerry, a spokesman said on Thursday.

Elements of the bill that is aimed at reducing greenhouse gases were delivered to the EIA both verbally and by hard copy.

"We received details. It's not a copy of legislation, but it was specific enough to allow us to go forward with our modeling efforts," said Jonathan Cogan spokesman for the EIA, the independent statistics arm of the Department of Energy.

Because of the way of it was delivered some stakeholders such as environmentalists and utility lobbyists are openly wondering if the bill is complete, despite six months of work on it by Kerry, a Democrat, and Senators Lindsey Graham, a Republican, and Joseph Lieberman, an independent.

Kerry also has been careful not to commit any of the bill's details to paper but some of its key features have been leaked by sources.

Previously, government agencies have found the impact of climate legislation on consumers to be negligible. The EIA found last August that a bill passed in the House of Representatives would raise household costs about $134 in 10 years.

Details of the Kerry plan on how to tackle emissions from the transportation sector, and how permits to pollute would be distributed to power companies, are still unclear.

Kerry said earlier this week that the bill was being sent for analysis after a political dust-up with one of its key supporters prevented its official unveiling.

The bill was to have been revealed on Monday but Graham pulled his support in anger after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid talked about tackling immigration reform this year.

Sending the bill to the agencies for analyses before it has been publicly revealed could help lawmakers with time running short before elections in November.

Barring any changes in the legislation that would set back the EIA, that could put the climate bill on the Senate floor in June at the earliest, but more likely in July. That assumes political differences are ironed out and Kerry moves forward with the bill.

The Congressional Budget Office is also likely to conduct its analysis of the bill.

(Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Russell Blinch and Lisa Shumaker)

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