Acknowledging a lot of "wheel spinning" and a "lack of any real consensus," Frank Maisano, spokesman for Bracewell and Giuliani, a law firm specializing in energy issues, suggested on Monday in an e-mail that current rough outlines of the emerging bill appear to include:
1. A new cap just on utility emissions in the short run.
2. A cap for industrial sectors in the longer term.
3. A carbon fee on transportation fuels.
4. Expanded federal support for nuclear power
5. Expanded federal support for the oil and gas industry.
Reactions among environmentalists and industry representatives to the proposed new legislation ran the gamut from wary acknowledgment to cautious embrace to tentative hope.
"Any approach that looks only at a couple of sectors, even though large sectors, would fall well short of an economy-wide approach," said Jim Owen, a spokesman for the Edison Electric Institute, a trade association representing investor-owned utilities. "We have been strongly supportive of a well-designed, economy-wide approach. That's still our position."
Environmental groups have been split over the Waxman-Markey bill that emerged from the House of Representatives last spring. Some viewed it as a good first step that could be strengthened. Others saw it as a fatal compromise.
Something similar may play out over the Kerry, Lieberman, Graham climate-energy proposal, or KLG, as some now call it.