Lobbyists prep for greenhouse gas bill

U.S. Capitol Building

TEXT OF STORY

Scott Jagow: A Republican filibuster delivered a quick end to this week's debate on a Senate bill to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. That sets the bill back at least until the next session of Congress. But for lobbyists, the work is just beginning. From the Marketplace Sustainability Desk, Sam Eaton reports.


Sam Eaton: There's a simple reason so many companies and special interest groups came to Washington this week for the Senate's debate on the Lieberman Warner Climate Security Act:

Ray Kopp: When you put a lot of money on the table, a lot of people show up.

That's Ray Kopp with the energy think tank Resources for the Future. He says the bill could end up costing big emitters trillions of dollars if they can't clean up their emissions and have to buy pollution permits instead. And that's spawned a lobbying frenzy, as everyone from Dow Chemical to big utilities try to bend the rules in their favor.

General Electric is pushing for big federal payouts to upgrade power plants with its own equipment. Others hope to expand the number of permits they can buy. One study says these side deals could set back any meaningful cuts in U.S. greenhouse gases by several decades.

But lobbyist Scott Segal says that's democracy at work.

Scott Segal: As I tell my clients and as they tell me. Everyone is advised to have a seat at the climate change table.

He says when you're talking about a bill that would essentially reorder the U.S. economy, few players are willing to stay silent.

I'm Sam Eaton for Marketplace.

About the author

Sam Eaton is an independent radio and television journalist. His reporting on complex environmental issues from climate change to population growth has taken him all over the United States and the world.

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