Kerry, Lieberman Unveil American Power Act

Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., have introduced the American Power Act. This energy bill is designed to ‘secure the energy future of the United States, to provide incentives for the domestic production of clean energy technology, to achieve meaningful pollution reductions [and] to create jobs,’ 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 critical role in our clean energy future.’ However, unlike H.B.2454, which was approved by the House of Representatives last year, the American Power Act does not contain a renewable electricity standard.

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

In 2016, energy-intensive and trade-exposed industries will receive allowances to offset their direct and indirect costs of complying with the carbon program. This assistance will be distributed in a fashion designed to reward efficiency investments and make manufacturing facilities more competitive.

The bill includes ‘a hard price collar which binds carbon prices and creates a predictable system for carbon prices to rise at a fixed rate over inflation,’ the senators note. Introductory floor and ceiling prices are set at $12 (increasing at 3% over inflation annually) and $25 (increasing at 5% over inflation annually), respectively.

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

In addition, the American Power Act provides support for green-jobs training. Other provisions in the bill focus on expanding the use of nuclear energy, modifying rules for domestic offshore oil drilling, aiding a transition to natural gas-powered vehicles and other initiatives.

SOURCE: Office of John Kerry

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