Is Senate Nearing a Bipartisan Climate Bill?

However, Americans are worried about domestic jobs, and supporters say the bill will help boost the economy and employment.

"I think that's what's really going to excite people," Kerry told Politico.

"When you take care of these kinds of issues you create wealth that creates economic opportunity," Cohen said. "This idea that somehow global warming is going to be good for the economy is silly."

Bipartisan Senate Climate, Energy Bill to be Introduced Monday

The bipartisan Senate bill, details of which are still being worked out, looks like it will be more than just a cap on greenhouse gas emissions, but an effort to forge a more comprehensive approach to energy policy. It seemingly avoids the pitfalls that sealed the fate of the unsuccessful bill introduced in September with much pomp, but it also opens up doors for new criticism.

Perhaps the most controversial aspect of the bill being drafted is its mandate to curb the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency. The bill will not eliminate the Clean Air Act of 1970, which gives EPA the power to regulate emissions of gases that it deems poisonous and harmful. But according to some reports, it will limit the EPA's powers, specifically to regulate greenhouse gases.

A year ago, the EPA determined that carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases endanger public health, paving the way for them to place caps on their emissions. Environmental activists have been actively lobbying members of Congress to prevent language that limits EPA' authority from making its way into the bipartisan bill or other proposals that are currently on the table in the Senate.

Another thorny issue is a fee to be placed on refineries that emit carbons.

Some environmental activists are also likely to be unhappy with the decision to expand offshore drilling and nuclear power. President Obama announced this month to open up more offshore areas for exploration and drilling, and the Senate bill may need the same kinds of concessions to garner Republican support.

Critics of the Senates approach say the long-term emissions targets are not viable altogether, and that lawmakers should place more focus on investing in basic energy science research.

The emissions targets would require an "enormous amount of capital in the next 40 years to fix things that are not broken yet. This is pie in the sky talk," said Steven Hayward, a fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute.

Others say the real focus needs to be on investing in renewable energy and carbon sequestration, long-term storage of carbon dioxide and other poisonous gases.

The president on Friday urged Senate to move quickly on climate legislation.

"This is one of these foundational priorities from my perspective that has to be done soon," he said.

The details of the bill remain to be seen, but as supporters gear up to celebrate Earth Day many say they are excited about the idea that at least this will keep the discussion on climate legislation going.

"In every other place where innovation is occurring in the 21st century, the United States is in the lead, except here," Fox said. "We're in a race and politics has prevented us from being first. As soon as we move through with this, we're back in the race. ... I think we're seeing that moment of breakthrough possible."

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