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.
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, Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) made an unsuccessful last-minute attempt to put the Clean Air Act before Congress adjourns. Procedural changes in the appropriations bill stopped the vote, but Rockefeller and his allies in the coal and oil industries are resolved to keep fighting the Clean Air Act when Congress reconvenes January 5th -- three days after the Clean Air Act kicks in for greenhouse gasses.
As the year kicked off, climate change
and clean energy advocates were teased with the prospects of another
jobs bill centered on clean energy provisions and the Kerry-Graham-Lieberman
climate bill. The jobs bill was rumored to include the HomeStar program,
which would fund a massive energy efficiency retrofit program (the best
bang for the buck in reducing emissions), while the climate bill was
rumored to include a full carbon cap.
Nick Santos is a former 1Sky policy fellow and now works with The Environmental Consumer in California. The author's opinions do not necessarily reflect those of the 1Sky campaign.
Last week's election will have major consequences for U.S. climate and energy policy. Republicans won a net victory of 60 seats in the House, 6 seats in the Senate, and at least 6 governorships. A number of climate champions lost tight races to candidates who deny climate science, but in California's Prop 23, the only race with global warming on the ballot, climate won by a decisive margin.
We probably won't know for a while who won the U.S. Senate race up in Alaska (somebody named "Write-in Votes" is ahead right now...is it me or are names getting weirder?), but apparently Lisa Murkowski's loan sharks campaign contributors are sure enough of her eventual victory that they've already called in her debt.
This week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) canceled a vote on the oil spill response package, punting consideration until after the August recess. Without bipartisan support, the bill did not have the votes necessary for passage. BP's "static kill" finally plugged the deepwater well that has been spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico for over 3 months. Both houses of Congress are out on recess until September 13th. 1Sky’s board reflects on the state of affairs regarding climate action. During the recess, 1Sky will be "shadowing" members of Congress wearing giant "oily hands" to represent the dirty money from oil and coal companies that is holding our energy policy hostage in Congress.
Last week, the Senate adjourned for the August congressional recess without taking up narrow legislation to address the Gulf oil disaster – let alone a more comprehensive climate and energy bill to address the root problem of our fossil fuel dependence. To decry this unacceptable state of affairs, a climate coalition led by 1Sky took to Capitol Hill last Thursday to call out the Senate for failing to act.
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.
Nothing in D.C. should really surprise me anymore. But this week, my staff pointed me to Senator Lisa Murkowski’s cynical and misdirected op-ed piece attempting to justify her assault on the Clean Air Act. The Senator’s justification for her “Dirty Air Act” -- Senate resolution (S.J. Res. 26), scheduled for a vote later this week -- really galled me.