Senate Poised to Move on Climate Bill

Barbara Boxer (D-CA), chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, isn’t yet ready to start debating a long-term transportation bill — but she is reportedly prepared to move on climate change legislation that includes targets for diminishing auto dependence and encouraging transit use.

Boxer’s
panel will begin debate on its climate bill during the last week of
July, using the soon-to-be-considered House measure as a starting
point, according to the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call (sub. req’d.).

The
House bill features several mandates for diminishing the carbon
footprint of the transportation sector, which currently accounts for
about one-third of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

It
requires states to set emissions reduction benchmarks for
transportation that would then be incorporated into future land use and
zoning decisions. In addition, the Obama administration’s recent increases in auto fuel efficiency would serve as a minimum for future emissions improvements, and states would be able to use 10 percent of their total energy-efficiency allowances to pay for transit or bike path expansions.

If
Boxer preserves those elements of the House bill during Senate
consideration, an attempt to strip them would have to win over nearly
half the Democrats on the environment committee, which is split 12-7 betwene the parties.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Transportation Allowances in the Climate Bill: A Tale of Two Modes

|
To understand why the climate change bill is a top priority for urbanists, it’s crucial to understand the emissions allowances that the legislation distributes. The allowances essentially put the "trade" in "cap-and-trade" — whichever industry or state government holds them can benefit from their monetary value or use them to emit pollution under the "cap." […]

EPA Makes it Official: Emissions Threaten Public Health

|
Acting under a Supreme Court mandate, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ruled today that greenhouse gas emissions endanger public health and contribute to the harmful environmental effects of climate change, paving the way for pollution regulations under the Clean Air Act. (Photo: TreeHugger) "Today, EPA announced that greenhouse gases threaten the health and welfare of […]

White House Staying Quiet for Now on Transit’s Role in Climate Bill

|
Delivering his climate-change message to Congress yesterday, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood warned that fuel-efficiency advances secured by the Obama administration would not be enough to reduce emissions from transportation — not without encouraging Americans to drive less. Transportation Secretary LaHood said today he’ll weigh in later on climate-change money for transit. Photo: HillBuzz But when […]

Obama Adviser: If EPA is Blocked on Emissions, Forget About CAFE Deal

|
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Lisa Jackson extended an olive branch this week to lawmakers who are pushing to block her from regulating carbon emissions in the absence of a congressional climate bill, but Jackson’s promise to delay action until next year appears to have made no headway with Republicans and coal-state Democrats.  Carol Browner, […]