Obama Says Senate May Drop Cap and Trade, Pass Energy-Only Bill

By Darren Samuelsohn in the New York Times, February 3 2010

President Obama acknowledged yesterday that the Senate may pass an energy bill this year without the cap-and-trade component he has long put at the center of his environmental agenda.

Speaking at a town hall meeting in Nashua, N.H., Obama repeated his call for a price on greenhouse gas emissions but said he recognized that such an approach may not have the votes to make it into law.

"The only thing I would say about it is this: We may be able to separate these things out," Obama said. "And it's conceivable that that's where the Senate ends up. But the concept of incentivizing clean energy so that it's the cheaper, more effective kind of energy is one that is proven to work and is actually a market-based approach."

Senate moderates from both parties are pushing Obama to accept an energy-only approach without putting a price on carbon emissions the way the House-passed bill (H.R. 2454 (pdf)) does, including Agriculture Chairwoman Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), Budget Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), and Sens. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and Judd Gregg (R-N.H.).

"I think cap and trade has a long road here obviously," Gregg said yesterday. "And there's a lot of good initiatives on energy policy that are on a shorter track and will hopefully be pursued aggressively.

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