UPDATE 3-US Senate climate bill to be unveiled April 26

* Backers hope for Senate vote in June or July

* Measure could affect states’ climate control activities
(Adds reaction from American Petroleum Institute)

By Richard Cowan

WASHINGTON, April 15 (BestGrowthStock) – A long-awaited compromise
bill to reduce U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases
blamed for global warming will be unveiled by a group of
senators on April 26, sources said on Thursday.

The legislative language to be sketched out in 11 days,
according to government and environmental sources, is being
drafted by Democratic Senator John Kerry, Republican Senator
Lindsey Graham and independent Senator Joseph Lieberman.

Backers of the environmental bill hope the unveiling will
pave the way for the full Senate to debate and pass a measure
in June or July if the compromise attracts enough support from
a group of moderate Republicans and Democrats.

Republican Senator Judd Gregg told Reuters he was
“committed to getting something that addresses our energy needs
in a constructive and comprehensive way.” He added he did not
know yet whether he would support the bill being developed.

President Barack Obama has made climate change one of his
top priorities and took steps recently to show Republicans he
was serious, including expanding federal aid for building
nuclear power facilities and allowing more domestic offshore
oil drilling — initiatives to be included in the Senate
compromise.

The White House is also eager to show the rest of the world
the United States is ready to take a leadership role on global
warming, including to help kick-start stalled international
efforts to tackle the problem.

Despite vocal climate change skeptics in the United States,
leading scientific groups have been hoping the United States,
the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases after China, would take
action.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
reported on Thursday the world’s combined land and ocean
surface temperatures in March were the hottest on record.

Once the senators formally sketch out their bill, Senate
Democratic Leader Harry Reid will decide the next steps in a
year crowded with competing legislative priorities and
congressional elections in November.

The bill could face stiff opposition from lawmakers in
states with economies heavily dependent on oil and coal.

Lou Hayden, a policy expert at the American Petroleum
Institute, said his group would not support the bill unless it
went through an economic analysis by the Energy Information
Administration, an independent arm of the Energy Department.

The bill is already slated to be analyzed by the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency and the Congressional Budget
Office, which could take more than a month.

BILL MIGHT END STATE/REGIONAL CARBON TRADE PROGRAMS

Kerry, Lieberman and Graham have been working for months on
a global warming compromise significantly different from a
measure passed last year by the House of Representatives and a
bill approved by the Senate Environment and Public Works
Committee. It also takes many elements from those bills.

Like the House-passed bill and Obama administration policy,
it would set a target of 17 percent reductions in smokestack
emissions of carbon dioxide by 2020, from 2005 levels.

Point Carbon, an energy markets consulting service,
estimated the anticipated Senate bill would result in U.S.
gasoline prices rising an average of 27 cents a gallon from
2013 to 2020. The bill is expected to contain a fee on motor
fuels.

On Wednesday, a Senate source told Reuters the legislation
would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from
regulating carbon dioxide emissions. It would also end state
and regional carbon-trading programs, such as the one several
Northeastern states participate in, to be replaced by a
national carbon reduction policy. [N14150360]

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, with 10
participating states from Vermont to Maryland, has raised over
$582 million for state efficiency and climate programs, said
Environment Northeast, a Boston research group.

Peter Shattuck, a carbon markets policy analyst there, said
shutting the program could create concerns among the states
over lost revenues.

A group of nine senators, mostly from Midwestern
manufacturing states, urged Kerry, Graham and Lieberman in a
letter on Thursday to take into account jobs in their states.

“Without such a plan, we are concerned that the legislation
will ultimately be unsuccessful,” Ohio Democratic Senator
Sherrod Brown and others wrote.
Investing Analysis

(Additional reporting by Timothy Gardner in Washington and Ros
Krasny in Boston; Editing by Peter Cooney)

UPDATE 3-US Senate climate bill to be unveiled April 26