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Democrats’ Budget Would Finance Sweeping Clean-Energy Plan

The $3.5 trillion budget plan from congressional Democrats would finance a far-reaching transition to cleaner power, but it is expected to face opposition from parts of the energy industry and their industrial customers over provisions likely to raise their costs.

The plan calls for paying money to utilities that make a fast transition to cleaner fuels—and levying financial penalties for those that move slowly, one of several largely untested programs in the package. Others include tariffs on imports based on their production’s greenhouse-gas emissions, and creating first-of-their-kind fines on oil-and-gas producers for leaking greenhouse gases into the atmosphere from their wells, pipes and tanks.

The plan gives wind- and solar-power developers and other clean-tech businesses some of their most-wished for provisions, including a big increase in tax credits for new wind- and solar-power units.

Oil-and-gas companies, however, warn that the plan potentially makes the U.S. more reliant on foreign sources of energy by making U.S. oil and gas more expensive.

“We would be concerned about any policy that disadvantages U.S. oil and gas production,” said Anne Bradbury, chief executive of the American Exploration & Production Council, which represents independent companies.

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