In just a few hours, the Waxman-Markey climate and energy bill goes to the House Floor for a vote. Our policy fellows just did a rapid review of the 300 page Manager’s Amendment on the Waxman-Markey’s bill, and are reporting out a DRAFT summary of its contents (PDF).
On balance, we were pleased to see a number of key strengthening amendments in the areas of renewable energy and worker transition, and we have been urged to take credit for our strong collective efforts to improve the bill. As our allies at Green For All just wrote when it comes to low income communities:
Now, the bill provides opportunity for low-income communities and communities of color. Now, there are protections in the bill that ensure that working families don't bear the cost for big polluters. Now, there is significant funding for green job training programs that build pathways out of poverty. And now, these good jobs will be accessible to low-income and local workers.
In addition, there are important new funds available for renewable energy.
We also want to highlight some important improvements in the bill thanks to the efforts of 1Sky and so many of our close allies who fought hard to improve the bill. Read the draft summary (PDF) for the highlights. On the downside, see the summary on what agro-business exacted.
We still have a long way to go to get where we need to be, but today is an important first step and we should take it. We must pass the bill off the House floor. We are strongly urging a YES for all strengthening amendments, a YES for passage, and a NO for weakening. We have been hitting our lists and phone banking and our website just crashed because thousands of people were trying to access it simultaneously to make calls and send faxes -- but the site is back up and we are swinging!
The Waxman Markey bill -- H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act -- is up for a vote today in the House of Representatives, and the votes might not be there to pass it. That's why we need you to make a very important call this morning to your representative, and urge them to vote to pass the bill.
Van Jones, Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation at the White House Council on Environmental Quality (and former 1Sky board member!) demonstrates in this video that weatherizing homes will be a major source of jobs. Check it out:
Earlier today, President Obama urged the House to pass H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act. The President's remarks are not yet online but I'll link to them when they are. Here's an excerpt:
The energy bill before the House will finally create a set of incentives that will spark a clean energy transformation in our economy. It will spur the development of low carbon sources of energy – everything from wind, solar, and geothermal power to safer nuclear energy and cleaner coal. It will spur new energy savings, like the efficient windows and other materials that reduce heating costs in the winter and cooling costs in the summer. And most importantly, it will make possible the creation of millions of new jobs.
By now you probably know that we expect a vote on the clean energy bill this Friday. It looks like there is progress on at least one (and possibly more) provisions to strengthen the bill.
We’ve heard that Reps. Dina Titus (NV-3), Gabrielle Giffords (AZ-8), and Martin Heinrich (NM-1) will offer an amendment that will extend the limit to 20 years for acquisition of electricity generated from a renewable energy resource for the federal government. The Titus/Giffords/Heinrich provision would require allocation of $4 billion- $2 billion for the score of extension of power purchase agreements, and $2 billion for the procurement of further renewables and efficiency. Additionally, the amendment establishes a renewable energy standard for federal agencies that is consistent with the RES that is established for utility companies in the underlying bill. This means more energy savings!
We will be working to help pass the Titus/Giffords/Heinrich amendment, and the American Clean Energy and Security Act. We’ve also heard that President Barack Obama is working the House energy bill, trying to win votes for passage Hawaii style, he is having a luau for the lawmakers and the announced plans are that he will be lobbying members to pass the energy bill.
According to what we are hearing from Hill sources and confirmed in several newspaper stories -- including this one from Roll Call -- we expect that there is likely to be a vote on the clean energy bill this week.
1Sky is taking part in United We Serve, a national effort launched by President Obama to engage more Americans in serving their communities this summer. We're encouraging our climate precinct captains to volunteer and recruit volunteers for energy efficiency projects. United We Serve kicks off today and runs through September 11th, which will be marked for the first time as a national day of service and remembrance. The initiative focuses on four key areas: education, health, energy and the environment; and community renewal. 1Sky’s participation (along with Grist) is part of the energy and environment initiative.
Check out this video from First Lady Michelle Obama about United We Serve (transcript at the end of this post):
As leadership integrates input from committee chairs, vote counts mount, but
we still do not have certainty that there will definitely be a House floor
vote on the Waxman-Markey bill next week. We'll know one way or another
early next week. In the meantime, we're continuing to build momentum for a
stronger bill with 1Sky rallies taking place at Congressional offices around
the country taking place today; more than 900 people nationwide signed up
and we have phone banked and confirmed at least 154 actions in 83
Congressional districts, 33 of which are swing districts.