So much of our time has been taken up with defending the Clean Air Act from the likes of Fred Upton (R-Coal/Oil) that it's easy to forget there are lawmakers out there willing to speak out strongly in its defense. People like Barbara Boxer, who has been giving Fred Upton her own version of Ian McKellen's 'you shall not pass!' speech from Lord of the Rings in reference to the Clean Air Act.
The Clean Air Act and climate change-related policies are under attack from all sides in D.C. this week. In an ongoing showdown, the House Energy and Commerce Committee is considering Chairman Fred Upton's (R-MI) "dirty air" bill. Meanwhile, the full House is pulling climate regulations and clean energy investments into a fight over the budget. Rhetoric suggests that the Clean Air Act and climate policy generally will continue to be points of contention throughout the upcoming budget process.
The latest attacks on the Clean Air Act are not about policy or even politics; they're about corruption, plain and simple.
We see these attacks coming from both Republicans and Democrats, but nearly all of them are coming from lawmakers who have received large infusions of cash or pressure from big polluters like the coal industry.
We had an action packed week. The Koch brothers are buying dirty policy; the gust of support for wind power is sweeping the nation; 1.5 million green jobs are headed our way and you still have time to visit Greenpeace's matchmaking site before Valentine's Day.
Last week President Obama delivered a tone-setting State of the Union
Speech before the new Congress and 48 million viewers nationwide.
Widely regarded as a move to the political center, Obama's speech
addressed many criticisms levied on the president by Republicans and
the business community. The president spoke at length about the
promise of "clean" energy, yet he included nuclear, natural gas and
"clean" coal in his definition (everything but old coal plants).
This week's main event is President Obama's State of the Union address tonight. Both houses of Congress are back in session this week after an extended Senate recess. The GOP-led House voted to repeal the health care reform bill passed last year, and party leaders such as Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) are eyeing the Clean Air Act as their next target.
Let's start the New Year off right. While Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) has taken a firm stance in keeping the EPA's regulation in place at the start of this year, Kyle Gracey at Grist explains his top resolution is to use his words carefully and correctly, starting with calling carbon emissions and greenhouse gas emissions exactly what they are: pollution. He calls on everyone to take the neutral word out of deadly substances.
The midterm elections have resulted in a less ambitious than anticipated lame duck session of Congress. Members of the House and Senate will return this week to debate the Bush tax cuts, an appropriations bill, and possibly some smaller energy provisions involving natural gas vehicles. New members are in town for orientation as parties sort out new leadership positions and strategy for the coming year.