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Tuesday, 27 November 2012 14:53

Emissions Legislation Poised to Make a Comeback in New Congress

One of the Senate's top proponents of action on climate change said today that several of her colleagues intend to introduce climate change bills in the next Congress, spurred on by the recent experience with Superstorm Sandy.

"I think we'll have many," said Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), adding that the storm that menaced the East Coast last month had raised the profile of climate change both on and off Capitol Hill. "So I have a lot of people working on legislation."

She predicted that several senators would release legislation in the first five months of the new Congress.

Boxer, who heads the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and her California colleague Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) said today that they have spoken about collaborating on a bill in the next Congress. But the measure has not started to take shape yet, they said. Feinstein called it "an idea."

"We've spoken about working together, and I'd like to do that, to try to come up with some new approach," Feinstein said. "Climate change is happening; the key is to limit it to 1 or 2 degrees, not to let it go to 6 to 8 degrees."

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) said it would be easier to move climate change legislation in the new Congress than it has been in the current one, in part because Sandy has made people curious about why storms are happening more often and are more furious. But he said nothing could happen until after Congress resolves how to avoid the fiscal cliff of tax increases and spending cuts that are set to take effect Jan. 1.

"This is not a very good period to speculate what and how," he said, adding that it would be "much better next year."

Lautenberg said it's "helpful" that Democrats picked up two additional votes in the Senate in the Nov. 6 elections. "So we'll see what we can do with it," he added.

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