WASHINGTON – The "American Power Act," which is a comprehensive energy and climate change bill, was recently introduced by Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT).

According to the American Meat Institute, the bill calls for a 17% reduction in carbon pollution by 2020 and more than 80% in 2050 by capping emissions in certain sectors and allowing for trading of pollution permits. Only facilities emitting more than 25,000 tons of carbon per year would have to comply with reduction targets.

The manufacturing industry would not be required to reduce emissions until 2016 under the proposed legislation. Manufacturing companies would also receive financial assistance during the interim period in the event of an increase in energy costs. They would receive assistance purchasing allowances after 2016.

Also included in the bill:

• Federal regulations would preempt some state regulations, such as cap-and-trade programs.

• Consumers would get rebates and energy discounts to offset any increase in the price of energy.

• Assistance in the amount of $2 billion would be set aside for the development of "clean coal" technology and $54 billion in loan guarantees to promote the construction of new nuclear facilities.

• Coastal states would be allowed to opt-out of drilling up to 75 miles from their shores.