"Closed-door meetings between a select group of environmentalists and a handful of electric utility executives may determine the fate of climate change legislation in the Senate.
Majority Leader Harry Reid’s top energy aide, Chris Miller, nudged the small group to the bargaining table earlier this month in the hope they could resolve more than a decade of dispute on Clean Air Act regulations and reach agreement on a first-ever cap on greenhouse gas emissions.
So far, sources close to the talks said, the two sides are holding firm in their demands. The power companies want relief from the air pollution rules as a price of entry into negotiations if they are going to accept a mandatory carbon limit that won’t apply to other industries. The environmentalists are saying no.
While Senate staff are not in the room, a failure to reach agreement among this critical subset of interests may drive Reid to drop greenhouse gas caps altogether from the bill headed to the floor in less than two weeks."
Darren Samuelsohn and Coral Davenport report for Politico July 14, 2010.