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.
Last week, more than 50 1Sky
supporters 'stormed' Senator Michael Bennet's office in Denver,
Colorado encouraging him to be more vocal in defense of the Clean Air Act. Following this event, a spokesperson for Senator Bennet told reporters that Bennet will "strongly
oppose efforts to gut the Clean Air Act" in an article published in the New York Times this week. Said the spokesperson:
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
On Wednesday, 1Sky, 10 allied organizations, and more than 50 activists politely “stormed” Senator Michael Bennet’s Denver office to urge him to fight back against congressional efforts to gut the Clean Air Act. Representatives of the groups stated their concerns and urged Senator Bennet to make a public commitment to fight to defend and uphold the Clean Air Act, delivering a poster-sized joint request letter signed by all of "The Storm" participants and group leaders.
Last week Senators Kerry (D-MA), Graham (R-SC), and Lieberman (I-CT) indicated they are working to introduce a comprehensive climate and energy bill as soon as possible. The trio generated much buzz after they gave a general description of the new approach to emissions reductions that will be included in their bill. While many key senators seemed open to the new proposal, others -- joined by members of the House -- launched new attacks on the Clean Air Act, gaining praise from Senator Murkowski (R-AK).
Yesterday morning, while 1Sky supporters made thousands of phone calls to Senate offices showing their support for climate action, Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) was busy introducing yet another measure to halt efforts to fight climate change under the Clean Air Act. His new bill (S.3072) would put a two-year freeze on the Clean Air Act enforcement that is needed to reduce global warming emissions from big polluters. Representatives Nick Rahall (D-WV), Alan Mollohan (D-WV), and Rick Boucher (D-VA) also introduced an identical bill (H.R.4753) in the House. The bills would not only prevent regulation of carbon emissions from big polluters, but would also prevent any research or planning relating to such emissions, dramatically blocking the road to a clean energy future.
We’re continuing our push on Senate offices this week with the movement-wide call-in campaign. The timing for 72 Hours for Clean American Power continues to be spot-on. Senator Lisa Murkowski continues to hammer away at the Clean Air Act's ability to regulate greenhouse gases. House members are also attacking the Clean Air Act. And Senate leaders like Lindsey Graham continue to toss around ideas for a bill structure and try to frame the debate. Your calls matter because they provide a real-time voice and feedback for what our Senate leaders need to hear: keep the Clean Air Act strong and pass bold, comprehensive clean energy legislation.