The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Climate Legislation in 2010

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted December 30, 2009

In the wake of the bruising political battle over health care reform, several U.S. senators have signaled that they don't want to take up climate legislation during the upcoming 2010 election year.

According to Politico, Sen Mary Landrieu (D-La.) is one of many senators telling their party leaders or the administration to give up on legislation to curb global climate change. "I am communicating that in every way I know how," Sen. Landrieu says in a Politico article.

Similarly, Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), told Politico, "We need to deal with the phenomena of global warming, but I think it's very difficult in the kind of economic circumstances we have right now."

As several studies have shown, the Waxman-Markey climate bill narrowly passed by the House could have severe consequences on the U.S. economy and American consumers. It could sharply raise energy costs, reduce household buying power, and result in the destruction of more than 2 million American jobs. At a time when the nation's unemployment rate stands at 10 percent, enacting Waxman-Markey climate legislation could have very unfavorable economic repercussions.

Yet, the administration continues to support a Waxman-Markey-style cap-and-trade plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. "'We think that a cap-and-trade mechanism is the best way to achieve the most cost-effective reductions,'" a senior administration official told reporters last week," Politico reported.

Some senators believe that Congress should focus on passing an energy bill rather than climate legislation. Earlier this year, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee reported out a bill that would open the Eastern Gulf of Mexico to oil and natural gas development. Opening this area, which includes the Destin Dome proven natural gas field, would make it possible for the United States to produce more of its own energy, create jobs and generate revenue for state, federal and local governments.

Legislation that would allow for the development of domestic oil and natural gas could help to keep energy affordable and improve U.S. energy security. The United States should open more areas to energy exploration and production.