The climate change issue may not be as hot an issue as it once was, but its still floating around Capitol Hill. The latest example is called the "American Power Act," which is being offered up by Senators John Kerry and Joe Lieberman.
Senator Lieberman says, "They call it a jobs promotion bill rather than a climate bill. Its seems that climate change is out these days and clean energy and jobs is the mantra. This is essentially a clean energy bill that will achieve greenhouse gas reductions as an offshoot to that."
American Farm Bureau Regulatory Specialist Rick Krause says this legislation looks different than other climate change bills. "The way they're going about it is different. Rather than an economy-wide approach like Waxman-Markey, Kerry-Lieberman is a phased-in approach that will start with having caps on utilities in 2013, then starting with manufacturers in 2016. Its a sector-by-sector approach trying to take into account the individual needs and peculiarities of each sector rather than an economy-wide approach."
Krause says the different approach does address some concerns farmers and ranchers have voiced throughout the debate. But one thing has not changed. "It will resutl in increases in fuel, fertilizer and energy costs to farmers and ranchers. The difference comes into play in terms of how those different sectors are capped and how those caps are phased in over a different time frame. So we're going to take a look especially at how those caps affect farmers and ranchers over time and whether, in fact, farmers and ranchers might be able to recoup some of their costs through offsets or carbon conservation programs."