After months of preparations, Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) held a press conference in Washington, D.C., last week to unveil their new energy and climate bill, known as the American Power Act.
The proposal would establish a cap on carbon emissions from utilities, introduce a fee on transportation fuels, and offer incentives for the expansion of nuclear power and offshore oil drilling. The future of that last provision, however, is currently unknown due to the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico last month.
In fact, in order to appeal to potential critics the bill includes a caveat that would allow states to veto offshore drilling within 75 miles of their coast, according to media reports.
President Obama has welcomed the legislative proposal, saying "Americans know what’s at stake by continuing our dependence on fossil fuels."
He added that "the challenges we face are reason to redouble our efforts to reform our nation’s energy policies."
However, the bill’s political prospects have already been marred by the defection of one of its former sponsors. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), said last week that the attempts to pass a comprehensive immigration reform this year are likely to prevent an energy and climate bill from passing by the end of 2010.