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Senators have yet to see a full draft of the climate and energy legislation that Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) were slated to roll out this week, before Graham threatened to ditch the effort over a disagreement with Democratic leadership over their legislative agenda. And even though Kerry and Lieberman sent some details of the bill to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) yesterday for analysis, the agency hasn't seen a full draft, either.
According to the EPA, the senators submitted a "description of their draft bill" for economic modeling. The agency confirmed in a statement to Mother Jones the senators "have not sent EPA any actual legislative text." The agency is determining whether it has enough information about the bill to produce an analysis of its economic and environmental impacts.
Environmental advocates say that the EPA can begin modeling without the full text as long as it has the key details in hand, like the year a carbon cap would be put in place, how much of the economy would be covered, and an upper and lower restriction on the price of pollution permits. And if there are changes to those details, it would be fairly easy to tweak the agency's computer models accordingly and produce a new evaluation, they say.
The modeling is expected to take five to eight weeks, which means that even if the senators do roll out their bill sometime soon, it wouldn't go to the floor until the first week of June at the earliest.
Here's the full statement from the EPA:
Staffs of Senators Kerry, Graham, and Lieberman today sent EPA a description of their draft bill, and they asked EPA to start the economic computer modeling effort. EPA's modelers are now examining the description to determine whether it contains all of the information that EPA needs in order to run its models. Once EPA starts the effort, it will take between 6 and 8 weeks to generate a modeling report. The offices have not sent EPA any actual legislative text.