Barack Obama

Policy Update 10/6/2010 - EPA/DOT Propose Stronger Auto Efficiency Standards (VIDEO)

4
Oct
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Last week, President Obama's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Transportation (DOT) announced their intent to set progressively stronger efficiency standards for new cars: 47-62 mpg by 2025. Congress wrapped up its pre-election business promptly to allow members to return home and campaign.

Congressional Timeline:

  • 11/2: Election Day
  • 11/15: Beginning of Senate Lame Duck session (tentative)

Obama Administration proposes another strong cars rule

In spring of 2009, President Obama worked with automakers to push for 35.5 mpg standards by 2016, and is now beginning a second rulemaking process that will set even stronger standards for new vehicles: 47-62 mpg by 2025, which represents a 3-6% annual improvement beyond the existing 2016 standards. This announcement represents a stage of administrative rulemaking called a "Notice of Intent" (NOI), essentially a draft rule made public to allow stakeholders to weigh in. The final rule will not be finalized until July of 2012.

Our allies at Environment America, Sierra Club, and other groups are advocating for a 60 mpg standard. According to the EPA, a 62 mpg standard is doable if much of the new fleet is made up of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

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Policy update 9/14/10: Congress resumes

14
Sep
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Both chambers of Congress will resumed after a five-week recess. With Labor Day behind them, and football season underway, both parties are in election mode, and no major legislation is expected to be considered. Addressing the expired Bush tax cuts will take up most of the air time, but there's a chance we could see movement on some smaller energy packages, namely Home Star.

Congressional Timeline:

  • 9/13: Congress returns from recess
  • 10/8: Target adjournment for the House and Senate
  • 11/2: Election Day
  • 11/15: Beginning of Senate lame duck session (tentative)

Congressional Priorities

Last week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) suggested that a narrow energy bill could be considered in the next few weeks, including Home Star and a package of incentives for natural gas trucks. Senator Reid does not plan on bringing up a broader energy bill before the elections, but has been saying that both a "spill bill" and a federal RES are still in play. Reid has also been more and more blunt in saying that a cap on carbon will not be considered this year. The big agenda item for both houses of Congress will be to address the Bush tax cuts, set to expire at the end of the year.

Retiring Senator George Voinovich (R-OH) has agreed to provide the 60th vote needed to push through a package of small-business incentives, including a $30 billion loan fund to improve access to credit. The bill would then bounce to the House, where it is expected to pass quickly. House Democratic leaders also plan to advance their "Make it in America" slate of smaller incentives aimed at reviving the U.S. manufacturing sector.

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We won't back down

10
Sep
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It's the end of my first week as 1Sky's new Campaign Director, and I wanted to take some time to tell you about our future plans together.

But first I want to thank my predecessor Gillian Caldwell for her amazing leadership over the past three years. Her work has made the climate movement stronger than ever.

As I step into this new role after three years at 1Sky, I recognize that we face major challenges to solve the climate crisis. Extreme weather events like the record worldwide heatwave and the floods in Pakistan show that we're running out of time to act. Disasters like the BP oil spill and the West Virginia coal mine explosion remind us that dirty energy is as dangerous as ever. At the same time, the Senate has failed to enact comprehensive climate legislation; Congress is drowning in dirty energy money and crawling with lobbyists; and our president hasn't been the fierce advocate we hoped for on climate.

If you're feeling a strong urge to crawl under the covers, I don't blame you -- we've all felt discouraged before. But this isn't the time to give up -- it's time to fight back.

So let me tell you where we stand: 1Sky will not back down -- and neither will I. We won't stop fighting for the changes we need to make our planet safe and build a clean energy future. And we will not lie down and let Big Oil, Dirty Coal and their cronies hijack our democracy and our future with their dirty money.

Here's how we want to work with you in the coming months:

Fight Dirty Coal: Coal power plants are the largest source of global warming pollution in this country, so we have to take the fight to them. We're going to defend the Clean Air Act from assaults by Dirty Coal and their allies. In fact, we'll fight to make it stronger and use it to cut climate pollution. We'll also keep exposing the corrupt influence of Dirty Coal money in our politics.

Push the President: As a candidate, Barack Obama made climate and clean energy a priority; as president, his record has been mixed. Obama has pushed through the biggest investments ever on clean energy and is working to crack down on the biggest climate polluters through regulations -- but he hasn't made passing a climate and clean energy bill a high enough priority, and it shows. We're going to support the President where he's making progress and push him hard where he isn't, including his promises to provide climate assistance to developing nations and shut down subsidies for dirty fossil fuels.

Grow the climate movement: The movement has grown dramatically in just a few years, but too many Americans still sit on the sidelines. The only way we'll beat the billions of dollars that polluters spend every year buying votes in Congress is with a massive grassroots movement to hold our leaders accountable. We will help lead the charge to grow the movement in the months ahead.

This renewed push for climate action starts now with the Global Work Parties taking place around the world on Sunday, October 10, 2010. 1Sky is working with our ally 350.org, which is taking the lead around the world to organize local events that will show our leaders what people can do in their own communities to deal with climate change: plant trees, hold bike rides, install solar panels, make homes more energy efficient, and so on. Sign up here to plan your own event or find a 10/10/10 work party in your area.

I'm also interested in your opinion of the campaign and where we go from here. What's needed right now to win on climate and clean energy? What are we doing right? What can we improve? How can we help you become a more effective advocate to create the change we need? Please send me your thoughts and suggestions at info@1sky.org. You can also share your thoughts with me on Twitter and talk with me directly on Facebook. This campaign is about empowering you to take action, so we take your opinions very seriously around here.

Despite the challenges we face, I know we can win. The climate movement keeps growing and getting stronger. More and more Americans understand what's at stake and want our leaders in Washington to take action. We're ready to keep fighting for a safer planet and a clean energy future -- and we're ready to win. Let's get moving.

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Weekly round-up 7/9/10: Solar energy rocks!

9
Jul
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Solar power is all over the news this week. President Obama announced a major influx of federal money into the solar industry, while Bill McKibben announced a campaign to get world leaders (including Obama) to lead by example on clean energy.

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Obama disapproves of Murkowski's disapproval

9
Jun
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Just in case there was any doubt as to where the Administration stands on this (.pdf):

The Administration strongly opposes Senate passage of S.J. Res. 26, which would undermine the Clean Air Act and hinder EPA’s ability to comply with a Supreme Court ruling on greenhouse gasses (GHGs). The Administration believes that comprehensive energy and climate legislation is the most effective way to transition to a clean energy economy that will create jobs, protect the environment, and increase national security. S.J. Res. 26 would do just the opposite; it would increase the Nation’s dependence on oil and other fossil fuels and block efforts to cut pollution that threatens our health and well-being.
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Poll: 64% of Americans reject Big Oil & Dirty Coal

9
Jun
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Now that the true cost of our fossil fuel addiction has become appallingly clear over the last seven weeks, the need for action is beginning to sink in with the American people.

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DC Hill Udate 6/8/10: Murkowski "Dirty Air Act" vote this week

8
Jun
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The Senate returned from recess on Monday and, according to Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), discussing energy-related legislation is at the top of their agenda. The BP spill has the potential to transform the energy debate in Congress. Leadership in the Senate and the White House have an opportunity to pivot off of the BP spill and drive our energy policy in a new direction.

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Weekly roundup 6/4/10: Day 46 of the BP oil disaster

4
Jun
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I really, really wish I didn't have to lead today's roundup with more on the BP oil disaster, but since the oil spill is now in its 46th day, I'm afraid I have no choice. I also wish I didn't have to nag you again about Lisa Murkowski (R-Exxon/BP/Shell/etc.) and her seek-and-destroy mission against the Clean Air Act, but you deal with the senators you have, not the ones you wish you had. Thankfully it's not all doom-and-gloom in Roundupville: this week we heard some of the strongest language in favor of a comprehensive climate and energy bill from President Obama than we've heard in awhile.

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DC Hill update 6/1/10: Murkowski Dirty Air Act vote set for June 10th

1
Jun
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Last week, Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) struck a deal with the Democratic leadership that will allow her to force a vote on her “disapproval resolution” on the Clean Air Act on next Thursday, June 10. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said that he will make a climate and energy bill a priority after the Memorial Day recess, huddling with key chairmen and working to chart out a path forward on "energy-related" legislation. At a high-profile press event President Obama identified comprehensive legislation as the long-term fix for preventing further oil-related disasters. Members of Congress are back in their states and districts all week for Memorial Day recess.

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On Elena Kagan's Supreme Court nomination

11
May
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There was a lot riding on President Obama's second Supreme Court nomination. With a closely-divided court that recently issued the blatantly pro-corporation Citizens United v. FEC decision, Justice John Paul Stevens' replacement could have enormous influence over the future of the climate movement -- and not necessarily for the better.

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