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Alexander, Webb: Focus on Nuclear Energy

With passage of a broad climate change bill in doubt, Senate Republican Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) and Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) called on their colleagues Monday to take up a much narrower bill aimed at boosting the nation’s nuclear energy capacity over the next 20 years.“I don’t want to see us get so stuck on climate change that we don’t move on things we can agree on,— Alexander said Monday.Webb agreed, calling their $20 billion nuclear energy bill “an issue that cries out for not only bipartisanship but constructive leadership.—The measure includes funding for new job training, research and development of new nuclear, solar, biofuel and clean coal technology, and funding to help double nuclear energy production over the next two decades.Webb and Alexander said that, at this point, they do not support the broad cap-and-trade proposals being pushed by House Democrats or Environment and Public Works Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.).Although some Senators have pushed for Boxer to include a nuclear provision in her bill, neither Alexander nor Webb said they would support such a move.Webb said that if their language was folded into the Boxer bill “in its present form, I would not vote for it.—However, he added that he would continue to discuss the issue with Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), who has taken the lead on trying to put together a bipartisan climate change bill.

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