Omaha Public Radio News
1:39 pm
Wed April 21, 2010

Senator Nelson open to considering new climate protection law

Washington, D.C. – After opposing the Democrats' cap and trade plan to curb global warming - Senator Ben Nelson says he's open to considering an upcoming new proposal.

Democrat John Kerry, Independent Joe Lieberman and Republican Lindsey Graham may introduce their climate legislation in the coming days. It's billed as an alternative to the controversial cap and trade' system that passed in the House but stalled in the Senate.

Like the previous effort, the new bill is expected to call for significant cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. But it will likely treat different sectors of the economy differently. A fuel tax is also a possibility. Nelson says he's looking forward to reviewing the details. "My concern all along has been to make certain that, in an effort to control climate change, that we don't end up putting a harsh impact on states such as Nebraska that are relying so heavily on coal generated electricity."

Data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics shows the energy industry has funneled significant amounts of money to Nelson's war chest in recent years.

Kerry, Graham and Lieberman have been meeting with colleagues and energy industry leaders on the issue. Nelson said they hadn't met with him yet. His vote could be pivotal in the effort to pass a climate change bill this year.