WASHINGTON Democrats in the U.S. Senate unveiled draft legislation on Wednesday aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions over the next four decades.
The legislation, written by Senators John Kerry and Barbara Boxer, embraces major elements of a controversial bill that passed the House of Representatives in June. Both bills would establish a "cap and trade" system to replace dirty, polluting fossil fuels with cleaner solar, wind and other alternative energies to power factories and oil refineries and to produce electricity.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
"I applaud Chairmen Kerry and Boxer for their leadership on comprehensive energy reform. With the draft legislation they are announcing today, we are one step closer to putting America in control of our energy future and making America more energy independent. My Administration is deeply committed to passing a bill that creates new American jobs and the clean energy incentives that foster innovation."
JOHN KERRY, DEMOCRATIC SENATOR:
"This is a security bill that puts Americans back in charge of our energy future and makes it clear that we will combat global climate change with American ingenuity. It is our country's defense against the harms of pollution and the security risks of global climate change.
'Our addiction to foreign oil hurts our economy, helps our enemies and risks our security."
BARBARA BOXER, DEMOCRATIC SENATOR:
"We know clean energy is the ticket to strong, stable economic growth -- it's right here in front of us, in the ingenuity of our workers and the vision of our entrepreneurs. We must seize this opportunity, or others will move ahead."
MITCH MCCONNELL, SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER:
"While many details are missing, this latest draft of the Democrats' new national energy tax appears to be even more expensive for consumers and for our economy than the bill that passed the House. The last thing American families need right now is to be hit with a new energy tax every time they flip on a light switch, or fill up their car -- but that's exactly what this bill would do."
TIM EVANS, ENERGY ANALYST FOR CITI FUTURES PERSPECTIVE, NEW YORK CITY:
"In general, the more restrictive the bill, the more it would tend to perhaps add costs to the petroleum products and tilt the balance more toward natural gas consumption."
JOE MENDELSON, GLOBAL WARMING POLICY DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL WILDLIFE FEDERATION:
"Quite simply, this bill means less pollution and more clean energy. It will move America forward in the new clean energy economy, create new jobs and help ensure our country is a leader in developing and selling clean energy technology around the world.
"But like a cornered animal, we can expect Big Oil to fight its hardest in a last stand to protect the status quo and if this summer's forged letters scandal is any indication, we can expect polluters to fight dirty. These polluters will be pouring every drop of their energy into protecting their massive profits by trying to stall progress on clean energy, climate action and green jobs."
AMERICAN PETROLEUM INSTITUTE STATEMENT:
"Boxer-Kerry leaves unaddressed key elements of how it intends to constrain carbon emissions. Unfortunately, it appears to be following the pattern the House followed, which resulted in a political bidding process that picked winners and losers.
"The losers would be millions of Americans and American companies who rely on gasoline, diesel fuel and other petroleum products to get to work and to school and to run their businesses."
JOSH FREED, SENIOR POLICY ADVISOR, THIRD WAY'S CLEAN ENERGY INITIATIVE:
"Senators Boxer and Kerry have taken a critical step to move the United States to a clean energy revolution. This includes not only ambitious targets for renewable energy, but also what we hope will be a major role for nuclear power and other clean technologies.
"The devil, of course, is always in the details."
FRANCES BEINECKE, PRESIDENT, NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL:
"This bill will help curb climate change, strengthen our economy, and make our country more secure. It will help generate jobs, reduce our reliance on foreign oil and create a healthier future for all of us.
"And it will put Americans back to work, making our country the world leader in the green technologies that are driving growth in the global marketplace."
LEO W. GERARD, INTERNATIONAL PRESIDENT, UNITED STEELWORKERS:
"We are in the midst of a long, tough process, which will require significant leadership from the administration, Congress and the many affected parties. I look forward to working with Senators Boxer and Kerry, and the rest of the U.S. Senate, to craft and pass clean energy legislation."
MARVIN FERTEL, PRESIDENT, NUCLEAR ENERGY INSTITUTE:
"The U.S. nuclear energy industry supports the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050 in a way that minimizes negative impact on the economy and consumers of electricity.
"The nuclear energy provisions are a start in the right direction. We know we need to build additional nuclear power plants to meet our climate goals."
ERICH PICA, PRESIDENT, FRIENDS OF THE EARTH:
"We cannot support a bill that fails to solve the problem. Overall the draft is riddled with loopholes and does not go far enough to protect the planet.
"Science demands at least a 40 percent reduction in emissions, compared to 1990, by 2020. The draft bill has emissions reductions targets of about 20 percent below 2005 levels -- nowhere near what a fair U.S. contribution to a global emissions reductions should be to avert climate catastrophe."