On Friday, Senate Environment and Public Works chair Barbara Boxer released an outline of what promises to be the version of the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act that actually gets debated and amended on the Senate floor in early June. David posted the full document summarizing the manager’s amendment earlier today. It’s only an outline, not the full text, but from a cursory glance, here are some significant differences from the previous incarnation of Lieberman-Warner (special thanks to Hill Heat):
- It includes a cost containment mechanism, or “emergency off-ramp,” which is likely to cause a lot of anxiety for enviros, depending the price level at which that would kick in. There isn’t a dollar figure in this outline. It reads simply, “If the price of carbon allowances reaches a certain price range, there is a mechanism that will automatically release additional emission allowances onto the market to lower the price.”
- It sets aside $800 billion through 2050 for consumer tax relief, to help those in need of assistance with energy costs. This is considerably more and more direct than the consumer assistance in previous versions.
- The spending is much more prescribed and itemized — the document reads like a massive wishlist, with “transition assistance” for every fossil fuel and heavy industry, and handouts to agriculture, the building sector, renewable energies, coal CCS, cellulosic biofuels, truck fleets, firefighters, state programs, on and on. It’s monopoly money that’s been spent down to the penny for the next 40 years. Hope no new needs come up between now and then!
- It includes a line about “deficit neutrality”: “This section auctions allowances and transfers the proceeds to the Treasury to ensure that the bill is deficit-neutral.” In regular person terms, that means it will impose no net cost on the federal government.
The actual language of Boxer’s amendment is expected to be released tomorrow, which will provide more clarity about the specifics of these proposals. This new version of the bill comes after months of negotiations between Boxer and the bill’s sponsors, Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and John Warner (R-Va.), as well as others in the Senate. The bill is expected to hit the Senate floor during the first week of June.