White House officials are working with Democratic and Republican lawmakers to revive a blueprint for climate change action after Barack Obama’s administration bowed to pressure from environmentalists in concluding it would be too costly to implement a cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gas emissions.
White House officials declined to comment on the Biden bill, named the Climate Security Act of 2015. But legal experts say the bill could be revived in one way or another as part of a legislative package that will become less popular with Congress in coming months, especially given efforts by President Trump to weaken regulations on coal power plants and roll back requirements for car emissions.
The bill would establish a two-year window for up to five federal departments to come up with a plan to regulate carbon dioxide emissions. Several bills passed by the House and failed in the Senate would have established a similar cap-and-trade system, but many members of Congress opposed it because of its cost and more liberal outlook on energy.
White House lawyers have been approached by members of Congress from both parties, including moderate Democrats in states where polling shows Republicans hold an advantage, to draft and address policy specifics in the bill, according to sources close to the situation. The strategy isn’t intended to explicitly revive the bill. It’s a plan to use the legislation’s benchmarks to assess the scope of various policy proposals — including rules to be crafted by the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other agencies — which could be tweaked to address climate change in ways not envisioned by the bill’s authors.