Cap and trade will be delayed in Senate

| 9/3/2009

The controversial cap-and-trade proposal won’t be discussed in the U.S. Senate until late September, two prominent Senate Democrats recently announced.

Cap and trade would create an emissions credit system for many businesses and allow buying and selling of credits in an open market.

The proposed measure would have an immediate impact on truckers, particularly at diesel pumps.

Sens. Barbara Boxer, D-CA, and John Kerry, D-MA, announced in a joint statement Monday that a combination of factors, including Sen. Edward Kennedy’s death, has delayed their work on the issue.

“We have told the Majority Leader that our goal is to introduce our bill later in September,” the statement read.

Boxer chairs the Senate’s Committee on Environment and Public Works, and Kerry chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, both of which will play prominent roles in cap-and-trade legislation.

OOIDA opposed the House’s version of cap and trade, approved in early July.

Mike Joyce, OOIDA director of legislative affairs, said proponents of cap and trade are likely to face tough opposition.

“A vote on a climate change bill that could impose a tax on people at the pump and with energy utilities is a vote that many senators may not want to take as we’re headed into 2010 and the next election,” Joyce said.

Joyce said he has yet to see any drafts of possible senate cap-and-trade measures, but said the Association is watching Congress closely on the issue.

“Until we do see something, we’re hopeful the senate will think about the burden cap and trade will present to highway users, particularly with increased fuel prices,” Joyce said. “We opposed the house version of the bill for several reasons, one of them being the likelihood that fuel prices will be increased with little benefit to those that are paying the increased price at the pump.”

Joyce said he’s been told the Senate may consider a version of cap and trade that would divert some revenues to the Department of Transportation to address adding highway capacity.

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer