Key part of Joe Biden’s climate legislation could be dropped after opposition from top Democratic official in fuel-rich state

Key part of Joe Biden’s climate legislation could be dropped after opposition from top Democratic official in fuel-rich state

The most sweeping step in US President Joe Biden’s signature climate change legislation is set to be dropped due to opposition from a senior official in his own party.

The clean energy performance program, known as CEPP, would pay utility companies that switch from fossil fuels to renewable or clean energy sources and fine those who refuse.

But, according to NBC News, sources say the program will likely be removed from a spending bill currently under discussion on Capitol Hill.

Senator Joe Manchin could stand in the way of Joe Biden. Photo: AP

Opposition from Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat who represents the fossil-fuel-rich state of West Virginia, would make passage of the bill impossible. With the support of Republicans, the bill would require all 50 Democrats to vote yes.

The Biden the administration had relied on CEPP’s $ 150 billion program to make the bulk of the greenhouse gas emission reductions in the bill.

The president has placed the fight against climate change at the heart of his agenda but, before his participation in the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, the failure of such important legislation would be a blow.

At the heart of the plan is the “clean energy standard” which would force utilities to increase the power produced from wind, solar and hydroelectric power and reward them with a “direct incentive payment” for achieving their goals. . If they don’t meet their targets, they would be fined, with the money being used to invest in green technology.

Manchin said the plan was not necessary because utility companies are already in the process of switching to green technology themselves. Changes in the language and definitions of the bill could still win and be supported, negotiators hope.

“CEPP is not going to happen and they are working on alternatives but I don’t know of any that have been accepted by Manchin or the White House,” a source told NBC News.

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The United States tops the list of carbon emitters in the world

The White House declined to comment on the negotiations. A spokesperson said, “The White House is laser-focused on promoting the president’s climate goals and positioning the United States to meet its emissions targets in ways that grow domestic industries and good jobs. “

The feuds over Capitol Hill threatened to derail much of Biden’s legislative agenda, with divisions between moderate and progressive Democrats proving particularly difficult to bridge.

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Those involved in the negotiations on the spending bill and its climate component hope that a compromise can still be found. The collapse of CEPP, however, according to one lobbyist, is “likely but not certain”.

Senator Tina Smith, a Democrat from Minnesota who was one of the authors of the legislation, tweeted: “I am open to different approaches but I cannot support a bill that will not get us where we need to be. in terms of emissions. There are 50 Democratic senators. Each of us is necessary for this to be adopted. ”


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