The Skywriter

DC Hill Update 4/19/2010: Senate climate bill to be released next week

19
Apr

DC Hill Update 4/19/2010: Senate climate bill to be released next week

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The countdown to climate legislation continues, with Monday, April 26 set as the new release date for the bill crafted by Senators John Kerry (D-MA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT). The Senate is expected to vote on Wall Street reform this week, and people all over the country will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, continuing to call for strong clean energy and climate legislation.

1. Kerry-Graham-Lieberman ("KGL") Bill Expected April 26

The roll-out date for the comprehensive climate and energy bill being crafted by Senators Kerry, Graham, and Lieberman has been reset again and is now scheduled for April 26. With the health care debate over, some reports agree that climate and energy legislation faces a better chance of passing this year than was previously assumed.

Last week, ten moderate Democratic Senators signed onto a letter including demands related to manufacturing jobs. Signatories include crucial swing Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Carl Levin (D-MI), Arlen Specter (D-PA), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Robert Casey (D-PA), Mark Warner (D-VA), Robert Byrd (D-WV), Kay Hagan (D-NC) and Evan Bayh (D-IN). The most concerning aspects of the letter are requests that the climate bill preempt state and regional carbon reduction programs as well as "existing federal law," a subtle reference to the Clean Air Act. 1Sky will continue to defend the Clean Air Act and state climate policies in the context of new Senate legislation.

Rumors continue to surface that the new climate bill will block the Clean Air Act at the behest of big polluters. 1Sky and our allies are working to protect the Clean Air Act in the new Senate climate bill, making sure large sources of pollution like old "clunker" coal plants are held accountable for their emissions. See coverage on our work with allies nationwide in Politico.

Both Senator Kerry and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) wrote editorials last week about the importance of advancing legislation to fight climate change.

2. Attacks on the Clean Air Act Continue in the House

Representative Kurt Schrader (D-OR) became the newest co-sponsor of one of the Dirty Air Act proposals last week. This is very disappointing news that comes just after 1Sky supporters "stormed" Schrader's Portland office to demand that he oppose all legislative attacks on the Clean Air Act. Rep. Schrader also voted in favor of the House-passed ACES climate bill last June.

1Sky supporters and allies will continue to keep up the pressure on Rep. Schrader and other members of Congress with additional Clean Air Act storms planned in the coming weeks at the offices of other key members of Congress.

3. Home Star Bill Passes Out of House Energy & Commerce Committee

The House Energy and Commerce Committee passed the Home Star bill last week with a bipartisan majority, 30-17. Home Star is a two-year program that will provide rebates to homeowners that invest in projects to make their homes more energy efficient. It is not clear when Home Star will be brought up for a vote on the House floor (subs. req'd), or whether it will be joined with another piece of legislation.

3. Wall Street Reform Bill up this week

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is expected to bring Senator Chris Dodd's (D-CT) Wall Street reform bill up for a floor vote in the Senate this week. While Democrats have expressed confidence that the bill will pass, it does not yet have necessary bipartisan support. If financial regulatory reform does pass in the next week or two, it will create necessary space on the legislative calendar for focused attention on comprehensive climate and energy legislation.

4. Coal Barons Held Accountable

Top executives from some of the biggest national and international coal companies got a tepid reception when they testified in Congress last Wednesday at a hearing on "The Role of Coal in a New Energy Age." More from Grist.

President Obama last week promised a thorough investigation of the mining disaster at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia and expressed serious concerns about safety violations throughout the coal industry. In the wake of the West Virginia mining disaster, several groups and shareholders are calling for Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship to resign.

5. International Climate Work Still Underway

This week, representatives from many of the countries most impacted by climate change are gathering in Cochabamba, Bolivia for the "World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth." The summit is an alternative to the last December's UN Copenhagen conference during which many parties felt left out of the negotiating process.

The Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate meets in Washington at the beginning of this week. This meeting provides 16 of the worlds wealthiest nations the opportunity to discuss their role and initiatives they may take when it comes to fighting climate change.

Prepared by Jason Kowalski and Julie Erickson from 1Sky's policy team. Please direct questions or comments to jason@1sky.org.

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