Cantwell, Collins Discuss CLEAR Act with President Obama, Colleagues, in White House Meeting on Energy Policy

Proposal offers simplicity and predictability; returns funds to Americans; jump-starts clean energy economy

WASHINGTON, DC – Today U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) met with President Barack Obama for over an hour to discuss proposals for clean energy legislation. In a meeting attended by the President, Energy Secretary Steven Chu and 3 other cabinet members, and senators of both parties, Senator Collins outlined the Cantwell-Collins Carbon Limits and Energy for America's Renewal (CLEAR) Act.  The bill offers simple and effective alternatives to cap-and-trade ideas, including support for clean energy development, a mechanism for creating jobs and returning revenue to the American people, and a simple and transparent mechanism for limiting carbon emissions.

“There was a great deal of consensus in the room that energy and climate legislation can be a vital tool for creating jobs and improving our economy,” Senator Cantwell said. “I commend the President for his leadership in calling key Senators together and I’m thankful he said he wants to see the details of our cap-and-dividend proposal.  We’ve been hard hit as an economy and this is something that could help us create millions of new jobs today and in the future.”
“We took this opportunity to outline our approach to clean energy legislation. I am encouraged that the President promised to take a close look at the CLEAR Act – which includes consumer rebates similar to an idea the President proposed during his campaign,” said Senator Collins. “Our bill would also spur job growth in clean energy technology, provide a market signal to develop American clean energy technologies, and prohibit excessive market abuses. It is a simpler approach that promotes American jobs and protects consumers.”

The CLEAR Act would:
·         Set up a mechanism for selling “carbon shares” to fuel producers and would return most of the resulting revenue in checks to every American.
·         Producers, that is, the companies that produce and import carbon fuel, as opposed to the much larger number of polluters, would bid in monthly auctions for “carbon shares.” The resulting revenue generated by the auctions is used for two vital functions:
o   75 percent would be refunded to every individual residing legally in the United States. This dividend would more than compensate for the increase in carbon-based fuel that producers would pass on to consumers.
o   The remaining 25 percent would be used exclusively toward clean energy research and development, regionally-specific assistance for communities and workers transitioning to a clean energy economy, energy efficiency programs, and reductions in non-CO2 greenhouse gases.
·         Provide price predictability for energy companies to plan future investments, especially in renewable energy and the green jobs of the future.
·         A typical family of four would receive tax-free monthly checks from the government averaging $1,100 per year, or $21,000 between 2012 and 2030.
·         The legislation will achieve a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 20 percent by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050.

For more background information on the CLEAR Act, consult Senator Cantwell’s web site.