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May 13, 2010 4:30 PM, EDT

Senators Propose Emissions Reductions Bill

Two senators unveiled a long-awaited carbon emissions reductions bill Wednesday that could spur increases in the cost of diesel fuel for motor carriers.

The American Power Act, introduced by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), calls for limitations on carbon emissions for mostly large stationary sources, but gives the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector.

American Trucking Associations opposes the bill, which it said would raise the cost of gasoline and diesel fuel without significantly reducing the output of carbon dioxide by the trucking industry.

“While others might object to our characterization, the climate bill clearly imposes a tax on transportation fuels and reallocates revenue from that tax for non-transportation purposes,” ATA President Bill Graves said.

Only a small portion of the tax would go to the Highway Trust Fund for much-needed improvements and repairs to our nation’s highway infrastructure, he said in a statement.

The bill would for the first time require carbon reductions of the major carbon emitting sectors in the U.S. including coal-fired power plants, electricity production, heavy industry, and transportation.

The measure also would give costal states the right to veto drilling for oil within 75 miles of their shores.

The legislation would attempt to cut carbon dioxide emissions and other greenhouse gases by 17 percent below 2005 levels and by 2050 would reduce such gases by more than 80%.