Democrats look to industry for help in climate bill

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Democrats look to industry for help in climate bill

Los Angeles Times – Reporting from Washington

As he toured union halls and factory floors in his 2006 Senate campaign, Ohio Democrat Sherrod Brown repeatedly railed against the "prescription bill the drug companies wrote," the "energy bill the oil companies wrote" and all the other policy decisions dominated by special interests.

Now halfway through his first Senate term, Brown seems to see at least one major Washington policy push differently.

Brown is one of a handful of senators trying to line up support for a climate bill that would put new limits on greenhouse gas emissions and spur production of renewable energy.

And surprising as it may seem, the heart of those senators' strategy is to woo special interests — major electric utilities, steel and cement producers, farmers and coal and oil companies.

"I know, it doesn't sound like me," Brown conceded on a recent afternoon. But in his own defense, he added, "I really do think this is different. I think people understand that if industry doesn't — if this doesn't work for them, if this doesn't keep them in business . . . it hurts the country."

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