Press Release of Senator Klobuchar
Senator Klobuchar and Senator Snowe Introduce Bipartisan "Carbon Counter" Bill
Legislation would implement the first nationwide greenhouse gas reporting
Monday, May 14, 2007
Washington, D.C. - Today U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) introduced bipartisan legislation that would lay the foundation for a successful national greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program. This legislation would establish the first national greenhouse gas registry"”a comprehensive and uniform system to track greenhouse emissions by major industries.
[b]"If you don't know what you are looking at and can't measure it, you can't fix it," remarked Klobuchar. "If weight watchers can have a calorie counter, we should be able to put in place a national 'carbon counter'[/b] so we can figure out the best way to reduce emissions that is good for businesses and good for the environment."
"If we are going to make a mandatory cap-and-trade system work"”which is the most effective way of reducing greenhouse gases"”we need the best data available on greenhouse gas emissions in the United States," remarked Senator Snowe.
[b]The few existing governmental reporting systems have resulted in varying methods of measuring and reporting emissions data. The inconsistency in approaches has resulted in a lack of comparability of reported emissions from company to company within specific economic sectors, as well as a lack of comparability of results from report program to reporting program.[/b] While numerous states have recently enacted similar registries, the Klobuchar-Snowe "Carbon Counter" is the only measure that would fill the need for a nationwide uniform standard for reporting and recording greenhouse gases.
"This legislation will establish a reporting system that can measure all the sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the same way," said Klobuchar.
Consistent, high-quality data is needed across all economic sectors in order to implement an effective cap-and-trade program. It is expected that Congress will pass a national cap-and-trade program sometime this year. However, without the Klobuchar-Snowe "Carbon Counter" Bill, any cap-and-trade program may be delayed either because trading may not being until new data has been collected and all tracking and monitoring programs have been put in place, or because the trading program"”in particular the allowance allocations"”are challenged in court based on programs with existing available data.
One of the most important parts of the "Carbon Counter" legislation is that it subjects emissions statistics to third party verification"”unlike the voluntary reporting programs supported by the Bush Administration.
Cap-and-trade systems create a financial incentive for emission reductions by assigning a cost to polluting. They have been embraced by environmental groups and businesses because they set a clear limit on emissions, but still allow companies flexibility to achieve the emissions targets in a cost effective way. Both environmental groups and businesses have expressed support for the proposal commenting:
"Without a cap on global warming pollutants, we cannot solve the problem. Without a reliable registry of emissions that everyone accepts and trusts, no cap or control of emissions will work," said Michael Noble, Executive Director of Fresh Energy, in Saint Paul Minnesota.
John O'Donnell, Managing Director of Federal Public Affairs at Xcel Energy, commented on the legislation stating, "While we are still reviewing the details of the legislation, Xcel Energy applauds Sen. Klobuchar's efforts to ensure accurate reporting of greenhouse gases from all sectors of the economy. We believe that a comprehensive emissions catalogue is a vital precursor for policy makers as they struggle to design effective policies to address greenhouse gas emissions, a goal we share with the Senator."
The "Carbon Counter" bill would amend the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) to include greenhouse gases. The EPCRA was originally passed in 1986 and requires that certain facilities report to the Environmental Protection Agency annually on the release and storage of various listed substances.
"Our proposal simply requires facilities to add their greenhouse gas emissions to their annual report to the EPA. It is simple and cost effective," commented Snowe.
What the bill does:
"¢ Amends EPCRA, so that facilities will estimate their greenhouse gas emissions and add it to their annual reports.
"¢ Excludes small businesses (under 500 employees and under $6.5 million in annual revenue) that generate fewer than 10,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
"¢ Requires the EPA Administrator to collect the data and make an economy wide estimate"”including estimates of the transportation sector.
"¢ Gives the EPA Administrator the discretion to create a new framework for greenhouse gas emission reporting after 3 years. "¢ Requires a third party certify reported greenhouse gas emissions"”after 2010.
"¢ Directs the Administrator of the EPA to consider cost and to integrate the reporting procedures of any state already administering a mandatory carbon registry system.
"¢ The bill does not label greenhouse gases as toxics, require an emergency response plan, or place limits on which greenhouse gases can be stored, used, released, disposed, or transferred at a facility.