Senators return from the Independence Day recess today with a packed schedule awaiting them. Senate Majority Leader Harry
Reid (D-NV) will be working with committee chairs this week to chart a path forward on clean energy legislation in hopes of attracting 60 votes.
The packed legislative calendar and upcoming November elections make July a crucial month for addressing clean energy and climate legislation. Senate Democrats and the Obama Administration remain committed to pivoting off of the oil disaster in the Gulf and passing a clean energy bill, but a concrete legislative package has yet to emerge in the Senate.
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 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.
Within just two weeks in April, the massive risks
fuel reliance to our security, economy and environment were exposed in
tragic disasters in West Virginia and the Gulf of Mexico. The astounding
in Massey Energy’s disregard for safety regulations and BP’s
share information on the extent the Deepwater Horizon leak has
fueled the public outrage at these catastrophes.
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.