Senate expected to vote on partial climate change bill

It’s been more than a year since the U.S. House approved a climate change bill. As midterm elections approach, Democratic leaders in the U.S. Senate say they’ll push a much weaker version.

A year ago in June, the House passed a measure that would cap carbon emissions and require companies to pay for permits to discharge greenhouse gases. A similar measure has gone nowhere in the Senate. Now, Democratic Senate leaders say they’ll introduce a very abridged version of the bill. Congressman Henry Waxman says, "I know they’re struggling."

The Los Angeles Democrat heads the House Energy and Commerce Committee. He was one of the Congressmen most responsible for writing and shepherding the House climate change bill. Waxman declined to take a pot shot at the Senate version.

"I don’t want to condemn the bill that hasn’t yet been passed. I’m hopeful they’ll do as strong a bill as possible and I know they understand the significance of a bill that does something as opposed to a bill that really doesn’t accomplish much."

The Senate bill would include tougher oil rig safety rules, new energy efficiency standards for appliances, and more federal dollars for land and water conservation. Cap and trade — at least for now — is off the table.

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