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Senate shelves global warming bill

By Steve Hargreaves, senior writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Democrat leaders in the Senate decided Thursday to sideline a contentious plan to limit greenhouses gases. Instead, they will push for a much more modest energy measure which focuses on conservation and issues related to offshore drilling.

"Many of us want ... a comprehensive bill that creates jobs, breaks our addiction to oil and curbs pollution," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-N.V., in a statement late Thursday. "Unfortunately, at this time not one Republican wants to join us in achieving this goal. That isn't just disappointing. It's dangerous."

But it wasn't just Republicans who blocked the plan. Several Democrats, mostly from Midwestern states heavy with coal and manufacturing, also refused to support the original proposal, fearing it would push up energy costs and hurt the economy.

Also shelved Thursday was a plan to require utilities to buy a certain percent of their power from renewable sources.

Reid said any energy bill will now focus on four smaller areas: Money for energy conservation in homes -- known as "Home Star" and sometimes called "cash for caulkers" by critics; unspecified measures to make BP pay for the Gulf oil spill and prevent further accidents; providing incentives for trucks powered by natural gas; and funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

The fate of some trade-offs Democrats had offered in an attempt to pass a compressive global warming bill is uncertain, including increased access to oil and gas in the United States and more nuclear energy.

Reid vowed to revisit a broad energy bill at a later date.

"We are not putting forth this bill in place of a comprehensive bill," he said. "We have a responsibility -- both to our constituents and our children -- to take on America's energy challenge."  To top of page

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