If you spend a little time as an environmentalist, one thing you’ll hear eventually from friends and family: “I wish there weren’t so many groups. It’s confusing—I don’t know who to volunteer for. Wouldn’t it work better if you all got together?”
This week the Senate could potentially hold the first set of major
climate votes of the 112th Congress on up to four Dirty Air Acts:
McConnell-Inhofe, Rockefeller, Baucus, and Stabenow. For years now the
Senate has delayed comprehensive action on climate and clean energy -
the only major votes held on climate have been votes on
polluter-endorsed bills that would gut the Clean Air Act. This vote
could set the stage for further Clean Air Act and climate fights as
the 2012 election cycle approaches.
This week's energy conversations have been dominated by the nuclear disaster in Japan. At one particular plant, three reactors are in danger of melting down if not properly cooled by the emergency efforts. Most U.S. politicians are sticking to their former stances on nuclear power, including President Obama, who remains supportive of building new nuclear facilities in the U.S. Anti-Clean Air Act bills in the House and Senate continue to inch forward, with a House vote possible in the coming weeks.
As the 2012 elections draw closer, the numbers at the pump could directly effect the ones at the polls. President Obama has had to quash criticisms that the climbing gas prices were owed to stalled domestic oil production. Rather, the spike is owed to the Middle East instability and most noticeably the unrest in Libya.
By Acacia Williams, Dana Johnson, Micah Parkin, and Mary Gilbert
Just over a week ago, climate activists across 17 states campaigned with rallies, meetings, calls, and letters to demand that their elected officials protect the Clean Air Act. The message was clear: represent your constituents, not your corporate donors.
In states such as Colorado, the message was a 'thank you' to climate champions. In Michigan, however, hundreds of people loudly voiced their disappointment with Representative Fred Upton’s recent Dirty Air Act and choice to side with corporate polluters instead of his constituents.
Politicians continue to attack the Clean Air Act on a daily basis as budget fights, science hearings, and consideration of anti-climate bills persist on Capitol Hill. The government is currently only funded for two more weeks, forcing a major budget compromise by March 18th. House GOP leadership is signaling that they are willing to back down on their most egregious anti-climate riders, but Clean Air Act-blocking legislation continues to be considered in the House and Senate with the introduction of the Upton-Inhofe bill.
Rallies sprung up nationwide this weekend in solidarity with the workers in Wisconsin. Much of the opposition faced by unions is from the same polluter-funded front groups that have opposed climate legislation for years. The protests in Wisconsin have the opportunity to be a key turning point in the fight against corporate influence on our politics. The House and Senate will return to D.C. this week for further consideration of short-term spending bills.
I recently attended the 2011 Good Jobs Green Jobs National Conference, and I was struck by a number of things. The first thing was the attendance – we were filled to capacity! As an organizer, however, what really got me was the intense focus on movement building from all involved – panel speakers, moderators, and participants alike.
We are beginning to realize that our strength lies in our numbers, and that we need to get organized! I knew that’s what we were doing here at 1Sky, but it was hugely inspiring and empowering to hear that goal echoed across the community.