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Landrieu, Graham, Lincoln, WarnerIntroduce Bill To Reduce Economic Impact Of Climate Legislation

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Landrieu, Graham, Lincoln, WarnerIntroduce Bill To Reduce Economic Impact Of Climate Legislation

United States Senators Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., and John W. Warner, R-Va., today introduced bipartisan legislation that will protect consumers and businesses from the potential runaway costs and economic instability resulting from climate change legislation being developed in Congress.

"If we are going to address climate change in a meaningful legislative way, it is vital that Louisiana businesses and consumers remain protected from an untested energy market that, without proper controls, could prove to be very volatile," Sen. Landrieu said. "The Carbon Market Efficiency Board will be the new market's watchdog and will ensure that climate change legislation will effectively reduce the dangers of global warming without destabilizing the economy or hurting consumers. I am proud to have developed this bipartisan, commonsense legislation with Senators, Graham, Lincoln and Warner."

"We need leeway and flexibility to be built into any cap and trade system," Sen. Graham said. "I am concerned about the potential costs of climate change legislation. Our approach will bring much-needed balance to any future system and ensure that the businesses and utilities in South Carolina have some certainty in which they can make decisions surrounding investment and compliance."

"For a state like Arkansas, which is disproportionately rural, it is important that someone be at the helm making sure the greenhouse gas emissions market does not hurt our consumers or local businesses," Sen. Lincoln said. "This proposal provides the necessary oversight that will ensure the market remains healthy and will encourage the development of new technology, while keeping energy prices from going too high and posing a heavy burden for many Arkansans."

"In my 28 years in the Senate, I have focused above all on issues of national security, and I see the problem of global climate change as fitting within that focus," Sen. Warner said. "As we proceed to legislate on climate change, we need to be careful to protect our economy in the process. I intend to include this legislation in the climate change bill that I am drafting with Senator Lieberman, and hope that it will help allay the concerns of some Senators about the economic impacts of cap-and-trade legislation."

Cap-and-trade legislation, which is currently being reviewed in the Senate, will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by creating a new market where permits for emitting greenhouse gases will be traded and sold. The new market could be worth hundreds of billions of dollars, offering tremendous opportunity and significant risk.

The bipartisan measure introduced today works to mitigate the economic impacts of any cap-and-trade law. It creates a Carbon Market Efficiency Board, modeled on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, to ensure the market for allowances, or tradeable permits to emit greenhouse gases, will be efficient, stable, and transparent. The Carbon Market Efficiency Board will exert strong market oversight, and protect consumers and businesses from economic instability and severe price spikes.

When necessary, this independent panel can control adverse economic impact of the new cap-and-trade market by:

* Increasing the amount of allowances that industries can borrow from allocations in future years;

* Expanding the amount of time allotted to borrowers to repay their allowances;

* Lowering the interest rate for borrowing allowances;

* Expanding the total amount of allowances allocated in a given year by borrowing from the total number of allowances that will be granted in future years.

The case for the legislation is reinforced by research conducted at Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. The Institute's Director, Timothy Profeta, will testify about the legislation at a hearing held today by the Senate Environment and Public Works Private Sector and Consumer Solutions to Global Warming and Wildlife Protection Subcommittee. The hearing, titled "Economic and International Issues in Global Warming Policy" will be held at 2:30 p.m. in room 406 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

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