Factbox: Business Reaction to the Climate Bill

(Reuters) – The climate bill unveiled by U.S. Senators John Kerry and Joseph Lieberman on Wednesday would reward many businesses for cutting output of greenhouse gases but could add costs for those who do not.

Kerry and Lieberman hope that companies who see opportunities in energy conservation and low-carbon power will convince lawmakers to support the bill which needs 60 votes to pass.

Utilities such as FPL Group, Duke Energy and Exelon have lobbied alongside environmental groups for the climate bill as has General Electric, a manufacturer of clean coal and natural gas systems for power plants and wind turbines.

Here are some initial reactions to the bill from companies and business groups:

Power Utilities:

“Inaction is a vote for our current chaotic approach to climate change and energy security. Pricing carbon is the only long-term, economically rational solution. And if we delay, the costs will only be greater, and the environmental impacts more severe,” John Rowe, CEO of Exelon Corp, the top U.S. nuclear power operator.


“… we remain concerned that the legislation could impose additional burdens on manufacturers that will raise energy prices and ultimately hurt our global competitiveness,” said Jay Timmons, executive vice president for the National Association of Manufacturers.

“The legislation still lacks key details on how these programs will work and what impact they will have on the economy. We will actively work with the Senators to make certain the concerns of manufacturers are addressed and that final legislation does not compromise our ability to compete in the global marketplace,” Timmons said.

Steelworkers Union:

“While there are many details that remain to be worked out in terms of sufficiency of allocations — qualification for these programs, the strength and certainty of the border allowance requirement — the USW appreciates the work done by the Senators to move the process forward and bring us to this point. We were proud of our decision to support the U.S. House climate bill last year, and for the role we played in its narrow passage,” said Leo Gerard, International President of the United Steelworkers.

Billionaire Oilman T. Boone Pickens (pictured above):

“Senators Kerry and Lieberman are to be commended for a plan that recognizes the economic and national security threat of our ever-increasing dependence on foreign oil, particularly OPEC oil. Achieving energy security is not easy and I applaud their focus on a broad energy package that includes replacing foreign oil/diesel/gasoline with cleaner, abundant domestic natural gas in America’s heavy duty vehicle fleets.”

Wind Power Group:

“We look forward to seeing provisions on renewable energy like a strong Renewable Electricity Standard as well as energy efficiency to create new clean energy jobs and avoid carbon in the near term in any package considered by the Senate. We urge Senate Leadership to move quickly on strong legislation,” said American Wind Energy Association CEO Denise Bode.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce:

“As we undertake our own analysis of the legislation, the Chamber will work with our diverse membership to assess its impact on the business community. It will be critical to determine how this bill will impact a broad range of industries as well as America’s energy security,” said Bruce Josten, executive vice president.

Article by Timothy Gardner appearing courtesy Reuters.

photo: Center for American Progress Action Fund

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