Kerry, Lieberman Unveil American Power Act

panelslight Kerry, Lieberman Unveil American Power Act

Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Joseph Lieberman,I-Conn., have introduced the American Power Act. This energybill is designed to "secure the energy future of the United States, toprovide incentives for the domestic production of clean energytechnology, to achieve meaningful pollution reductions [and] to createjobs," according to its introduction.

"America enjoys an abundance of homegrown energy sources: coal, natural gas,nuclear and renewables," the senators state. "Each will play a criticalrole in our clean energy future." However, unlike H.B.2454, which wasapproved by the House of Representatives last year, the American PowerAct does not contain a renewable electricity standard.

Accordingto Kerry and Lieberman, the American Power Act will reduce carbonpollution by 17% in 2020 and by over 80% in 2050 through a carbon-market system. Under the nationwide framework, states will no longer bepermitted to operate cap-and-trade programs for greenhouse gases.

In 2016, energy-intensive and trade-exposed industries will receiveallowances to offset their direct and indirect costs of complying withthe carbon program. This assistance will be distributed in a fashiondesigned to reward efficiency investments and make manufacturingfacilities more competitive.

The bill includes "a hard pricecollar which binds carbon prices and creates a predictable system forcarbon prices to rise at a fixed rate over inflation," the senatorsnote. Introductory floor and ceiling prices are set at $12 (increasingat 3% over inflation annually) and $25 (increasing at 5% over inflationannually), respectively.

"To provide environmental integrity andensure meaningful emissions reductions, we include a strategic reserveto complement the hard price collar and ensure the availability ofprice-certain allowances in the event of unusually high carbon prices,"the senators add.

In addition, the American Power Act providessupport for green-jobs training. Other provisions in the bill focus onexpanding the use of nuclear energy, modifying rules for domesticoffshore oil drilling, aiding a transition to natural gas-poweredvehicles and other initiatives.