Dorgan: Climate change measure lacks votes

June 15, 2010 at 10:16 PM
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WASHINGTON, June 15 (UPI) -- A key Democrat on the U.S. Senate energy committee said backers lack the votes to get climate-change rules into the energy bill.

Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., a senior member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, noted adding the rules would require 60 votes.

"I doubt very much whether those 60 votes exist right now," he said on C-SPAN's "Washington Journal," The Hill reported.

The Washington publication noted President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., are preparing to squeeze an energy bill into a busy summer schedule on Capitol Hill.

Obama has e-mailed supporters to try to expand their ranks. Reid has told committee heads to prepare for work on an energy bill.

Dorgan said he supports a tax on carbon emissions but opposes a cap-and-trade program like the one the House passed a year ago. That program risks creating a carbon securities market prone to abuse, he said.

A loss of Dorgan's support would mean Democrats would be at least two votes short of moving ahead with climate-change regulations.

Dorgan, who has announced plans to leave the Senate when his term expires, said the energy measure would support renewable energy and strengthen regulation of energy production in light of regulatory and safety gaps revealed by the April 20 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

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