The latest is that Sens. John Kerry (D-MA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) plan to introduce their long-time-in-coming climate change legislation by the start of Earth Week (April 19).

“They’re still in the process of stitching it together,” said a Capitol Hill aide, but the legislative proposal, which has been in the works for several months, may finally be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

“I’m sure they’ll be pretty kind to natural gas,” he said.

It’s been speculated that the writers of the bill may include a “Sense of the Senate” resolution on hydraulic fracturing (hydrofracing) but it would not compel the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate the practice (see Daily GPI, March 29). Hydrofracing, which is used to stimulate many oil and gas wells, is a process in which fluids are injected at high pressure into underground rock formations to fracture the rock and increase the flow of fossil fuels.

Environmentalists and others contend that hydrofracing is a threat to public health and the environment, and they have called for EPA regulation of the activity. Producers argue that the practice is safe.

In addition, the climate measure may address expansion of offshore oil and natural gas drilling, as well as the sharing of royalties with coastal states that permit exploration and development off their shores.

The Kerry-Graham-Lieberman bill may include these provisions to get senators from producing states to vote for climate change, but they risk losing the votes of senators who are pro-climate change and anti-drilling. The goal of the three senators is to put a bill on the Senate floor that will get 60 votes.

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