Best Elements of Lugar Bill Belong in Comprehensive Energy and Climate Legislation

WASHINGTON (June 9, 2010) -- Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) introduced a set of energy and climate proposals today. Below is a statement from Dan Lashof, Director of the Climate Center at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

"Senator Lugar's proposal contains some good ideas that should be included in an effective and comprehensive bill that cuts oil dependence, creates jobs, and puts limits on carbon pollution. But this proposal is no substitute for the comprehensive clean energy and climate bill we need to hold polluters accountable, break our dangerous addiction to oil and curb climate change.

“Even Senator Lugar estimates that his proposal would achieve only half the carbon pollution reductions we need by 2020, and it would fall increasingly short after that.  We need firm carbon pollution limits that will channel the billions of dollars in private sector investments now waiting on the sidelines towards energy efficiency and cleaner energy sources. That is what will bring new clean energy and energy efficient technologies to the market and provide Americans with jobs that cannot be sent overseas.

“Some parts of Senator Lugar’s bill would take us backwards by exempting some of the biggest air polluters in the country - outdated coal plants from vital public health protections required by the Clean Air Act. Allowing these dirtiest sources to continue to operate through the end of 2018 without cutting their damaging emissions of mercury, sulfur and other pollutants would be a costly and dangerous mistake to our lungs and atmosphere, which NRDC will strongly oppose.

“For the past 20 years, Congress has passed numerous piecemeal energy bills that have failed to move us to a clean energy economy and set us on a pathway to solve global warming. By itself, the Lugar bill would repeat that failure. To move the United States to a clean energy future, we need to combine the positive elements of Senator Lugar’s bill with other necessary elements including a comprehensive limit on carbon pollution.

“Senator Lugar has worked to make our country more secure by reducing our dependence on oil and curbing climate change. We welcome his continued commitment to these essential national priorities and look forward to working with him to enact comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation this year.”