Thursday, June 10, 2010

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell warned President Barack Obama Not To Use Oil Spill as an opportunity to pass climate legislation $BP

WASHINGTON (AFP)--Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell warned President Barack Obama Thursday not to use the BP PLC (BP) oil spill as an opportunity to pass climate legislation that McConnel branded "a national energy tax." "We are perfectly happy to work with the administration on legislation that might be appropriate, directly related to the spill in the Gulf," McConnell said after a meeting of Obama with Democratic and Republican leaders. But McConnell warned against "seizing on the oil spill in the Gulf and using that as a rationale, if you will, for passing a national energy tax referred to down here at the White House as 'cap and trade.'" "The goal here is to seize on the oil spill in the Gulf in order to generate something totally unrelated to that," said McConnell (R, Ky). "In the United States Senate there is bipartisan opposition to a national energy tax." McConnell's words signaled an escalation of a battle on energy and climate change in the Senate, coinciding with the volatile politics of a congressional election year. Obama said after the meeting that he realized the United States would not be able to wean itself off oil for years, but needs to start work on alternative fuels and a new generation energy policy. "We have to move on an energy agenda that is forward- looking, that creates jobs." Obama said. "We can't keep our eye off the importance of having an energy policy that meets the needs of the next generation and ensures that the United States is the leader when it comes to energy policy." Obama said last week that following the oil spill, he will redouble efforts to get a bill reducing greenhouse gas emissions through the Senate. While shying away from the politically charged term "cap and trade," the Democratic Senate bill in effect sets up a such a system, limiting carbon emissions by businesses but giving them an incentive by allowing trade in credits. But the bill will only apply to 7,500 factories and power plants across the United States, which each produce more than 25,000 tons of carbon pollution annually. Mindful of the uncertain economy, the bill would require no emission curbs by manufacturers until 2016, exempts farmers entirely and promises that revenue generated be returned to consumers. Obama also said at the meeting Thursday said that existing U.S. law, which caps liability for compensation payments by oil firms which cause damaging spills at $75 million, is inadequate and needed to be changed. "We had a frank conversation about the fact that the laws that have been in place have not been adequate for a crisis of this magnitude," Obama said. "The Oil Pollution Act was passed at a time when people didn't envision drilling four miles under the sea for oil." -Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2900 (END) Dow Jones Newswires 06-10-10 1431ET

No comments:

Post a Comment