On December 11, 2009 Senator Maria Cantwell (D – WA) and co-sponsor Senator Susan Collins (R – ME) introduced a new carbon-limiting bill that has hints of the Waxman-Markey Cap-and-Tax bill. The bill, entitled Carbon Limits and Energy for America’s Renewal (CLEAR) Act, would still use the basic cap-and-trade formula with a few “less regulating” measures. Rather than giving the carbon credits to fossil fuel users, CLEAR would auction carbon credits to fuel producers (ie: natural gas, oil, and coal producers) which would limit the amount of “fossil fuel carbon” these producers could sell into the market.

The fact is, no matter which end of the spectrum Congress chooses to regulate, the federal government will have a direct hand in how America utilizes energy. Nor does the CLEAR Act provide a long-term, low-cost energy policy that benefits all Americans and businesses. However, Senator David Vitter (R – LA) has proposed legislation which respects the free market and increases America’s energy supply without the heavy hand of government.

It’s called the No Cost Stimulus Act, and it carries real energy solutions and no less than 18 co-sponsors. Vitter writes:

The No Cost Stimulus would increase domestic production of oil and gas and decrease the regulatory burden on businesses. It increases domestic production of Outer Continental Shelf resources, which have shown to be incredibly abundant in the Gulf of Mexico. And it opens up a very narrow portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil and gas production with arguably the most stringent environmental regulations in history. It also dedicates a significant portion of the revenue created from this production to renewable energy production so that we can use our traditional energy sources as a bridge to the energy capabilities of the future.

Senator Vitter recognizes what many Senate Democrats refuse to accept: the only energy policy America should pursue is one of independence from foreign imports. Vitter’s bill does everything Cantwell-Collins can’t: it creates jobs and opens the domestic energy market without costing the taxpayers another dime. And it doesn’t include ridiculous “carbon credits” companies can trade like baseball cards. Vitter proposes good, solid free-market solutions. Now THAT is change we can believe in.