By 1Sky blogger Andy Silber. See Andy's bio at the end of this post. -- Luis
Andy Silber is a astrophysicist, engineer, project manager, husband, father, and energy activist living in Seattle. Visit Andy's blog on Sustainable West Seattle. The author's opinions do not necessarily reflect those of the 1Sky campaign.
Earlier this week, legendary West Virginia Senator Robert C. Byrd passed away. It is unlikely that an environmental organization would have written positively about a pro-coal senator, but in recent years the late Senator Byrd realized the toll that the coal industry was taking on the environment and his beloved West Virginia. Robert C. Byrd, who once fought hard for coal mining and against regulating it in his early years, had an epiphany:
The industry of coal must also respect the land that yields the coal, as well as the people who live on the land. If the process of mining destroys nearby wells and foundations, if blasting and digging and relocating streams unearths harmful elements and releases them into the environment causing illness and death, that process should be halted and the resulting hazards to the community abated.
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.
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.
By 1Sky blogging working group member Andy Silber. -- Luis
Breaking news: Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) has just been awarded "The Cheney" -- an award given to the politician who comes up with the
most bald-faced lies on energy issues. The award is named after former Vice President Dick
Cheney, who was incapable of NOT lying about anything related to energy policy.
Murkowski won for her attempt to repeal
the EPA's “endangerment finding", which showed that
carbon dioxide emissions are a threat to human health and the environment. Her
award-winning lies fall into two categories:
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.
After a week of friction amongst Democratic leadership, the legislative
calendar is coming into focus. The Senate is on the verge of passing
street reform, which if done quickly will leave space for a
energy and climate bill to be considered this spring. Co-sponsors of the
legislation have yet to set out a new timeline for the bill's release,
tensions have eased considerably since the initial disagreements began
With Congress on recess, this week was marked by
big news from the Obama
Administration, including a disappointing announcement about offshore
oil drilling and a more encouraging one about mountaintop removal coal
Meanwhile, 1Sky supporters turned out in impressive numbers to
"storm" in-state Congressional offices nationwide, demanding that
members of Congress oppose the "Dirty Air Act" proposals currently