Sens. Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) have introduced a measure that would set fees on carbon emissions from large fossil-fuel-powered plants to help pay for renewable-energy and home weatherization projects.The bill would give consumers rebates to offset fossil-fuel-using companies' efforts to raise prices.
The lawmakers announced the bill on Feb. 14, surrounded by leaders from environmental groups such as the Sierra Club and 350.org. But the bill faces an uphill battle. A 2010 Senate cap-and-trade bill failed, and the new one is likely to run into strong opposition in the House.
The bill's sponsors were upbeat, however. Boxer, who chairs the Environment and Public Works Committee, said, "If ever there was a win-win, this is a win-win." She hopes to see her panel clear the bill in early spring and have it on the Senate floor this summer. But that will require the support of Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). Reid has not weighed in on the bill, Sanders said, but added, "In general, he's sympathetic … and we'll see how things go."