What other environmental and energy legislation should Congress address now that a comprehensive climate policy has stalled in the Senate?
Numerous bills have been introduced, and in some cases passed out of committee, that take a more piecemeal approach than recent cap-and-trade measures. These include a bill by Sens. Tom Carper, D-Del., and Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., that would require utilities to cut emissions of three traditional air pollutants (mercury, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide); an electric vehicle measure by Alexander and Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D.; and a House bill that ramps up R&D for a variety of energy technologies. Other issues that may emerge this fall include a low carbon fuel standard and an ethanol mandate, which the administration has said it will decide on in November.
With just a few months left in this Congress and much of that time dominated by the midterm elections, should lawmakers redirect their efforts to smaller measures? What are the benefits or drawbacks of more piecemeal legislation? Should Congress continue pushing on cap-and-trade legislation or a renewable electricity standard, both of which fell victim to partisan politics over the summer?