Republican Sens. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia and Richard Burr of North Carolina have introduced a climate change bill that touts the use of natural gas and nuclear energy to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

"A troubled economy and the situation in the Gulf of Mexico are all-too-obvious reminders that we need to focus on ensuring a predictable energy future. This plan will help move us forward in using cleaner, domestic energy, but without making energy more expensive," Burr said.

The Chambliss-Burr bill is an alternative to the climate change bill that Sens. John Kerry (D-MA) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) are championing (see Daily GPI, June 17). The Kerry-Lieberman bill is backed by President Obama and supports cap-and-trade.

For natural gas, the Chambliss-Burr bill would extend the income tax credit for the purchase of vehicles that run on alternative fuels; extend the alternative fuel tax credit for compressed natural gas and liquid natural gas; allow states and local governments to issue tax-exempt bonds to finance natural gas vehicle and infrastructure projects; and require federal agencies to buy alternative fuel vehicles unless the alternative fuel is unavailable.

And to encourage further use of nuclear energy, the Republican bill would authorize funding to develop the next-generation nuclear work force; make the regulatory process more transparent; maintain safety requirements; increase loan-guarantee funding; provide a 15-year accelerated depreciation period for new nuclear plants, as well as a 10% investment tax credit and a nuclear-job-creation tax credit; and create policy to recycle nuclear fuel to harness energy and reduce volume and radioactivity of existing spent nuclear fuel.

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