Expectations for Climate Bill

Wed, 2010-06-09 17:59

Here's the latest update from the National SAVE Energy coalition:

1. Climate Webinar Survey Results – Thanks to all those that completed the survey after our most recent webinar, American Power Act: Analysis & Action. Your responses returned some encouraging results: • 86% of attendees have contacted an elected official before • 96% of attendees feel Climate legislation will benefit their business • 70% of attendees planned to contact their Senators about the Climate bill As discussed below, the content of a climate and energy bill is still very much undecided. We have the opportunity to weigh in and impact the debate to ensure that our Senators vote for a bill with equal or better support for efficiency and renewable energy than in the American Power Act. So please, contact your Senator today, use our resources on our Take Action page, and fill out a Tracking Form to let us know!

2. Expectations for Climate Bill – Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) will meet with Democratic Committee Chairs tomorrow (Thursday) to decide the on the summer strategy for climate and energy legislation. One of the largest challenges facing climate and energy legislation is timing – with elections looming in November and the legislative calendar partially booked already, little time remains for consideration of a bill. Nevertheless, Senator Reid is adamant that the Senate must pass some legislation that would “immediately refocus our efforts on clean and renewable energy -- like the sun, the wind and geothermal energy -- improving energy efficiency and using more biofuels." Comments from Senator Schumer (D-NY) illuminate one scenario for a climate and energy bill: base legislation on the American Clean Energy Leadership Act (an energy-only bill) from Senator Bingaman (D-NM) and include an amendment to limit greenhouse gas emissions using provisions from the American Power Act (climate bill) from Senators Kerry (D-MA) and Lieberman (I-CT). It is still unclear how the on-going oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico will impact the legislation. On one hand, proponents can no longer offer the “carrot” of increased offshore oil drilling to win support among Republicans and conservative Democrats. On the other hand, there is now unprecedented public support for reducing our addiction to oil. Meanwhile, Senator Graham (R-SC), once slated to co-sponsor the American Power Act, is now advocating that the Senate address the climate and energy issue next year and place a cap-and-trade system only on the electric sector. We should have much more clarity on what the Senate will consider when in a week or so, so stay tuned!

3. Murkowski Resolution Update – Tomorrow (Thursday), the Senate will vote on a resolution from Senator Murkowski (R-Alaska) that would block the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. The most immediate impact of the resolution would be to prohibit cooperation between EPA and the Department of Transportation to 1) raise the fuel economy of passenger vehicles and 2) enact the first-ever standards for greenhouse gas emission on cars and trucks, starting next year. In a statement yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-NV), cited EPA analysis that “the result of this resolution would be to waste at least 450 million more barrels of oil than we need to." While the measure stands a good chance of passage – Senator Murkowski has 41 co-sponsors and she needs just 51 votes to pass – it has little chance of becoming law, as President Obama has openly threatened to veto it. Additionally, many groups have launched efforts to defeat the resolution, including the League of Conservation Voters, which has stated that they will include the Murkowski Resolution vote on their annual National Environmental Scorecard. You can read the op-ed about the consequences of the resolution from EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson here.

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