5-20-10 Senate Advocacy Update

Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act passed the House of  Representatives about a year ago in 2009.

The Senate is considering several Climate/Energy bills. 

The one favored by many climate change groups - the  Cantwell /Collins - CLEAR ACT - http://cantwell.senate.gov/issues/CLEARAct.cfm - has been referred to Senator Baucas Senate Committee on Finance, where it may languish, never to see the light of day again.

Senators Kerry and Lieberman introduced The American Power Act themselves after Republican Senator Graham withdraw promised support (over concern re the unrelated immigration bill).    The bill is a "discussion draft".  It does not have an number yet.  Several hundred of the smaller environmental groups oppose this bill as inadequate.  Many of the larger groups are still trying to strengthen the bill and get something that sets a carbon cap, a cap that can be strengthened over time.  See article here that lists bill supporters.

The www.1sky.org  bill analysis is here.

Climate Progress has a good analysis here.  

The Kerry/Lieberman (KL) bill does have a sort of "dividend" approach, but relies on public utilities companies to fairly reimburse customers - creating a a consumer "dividend" that will vary wildly from one state to another, and that leaves more with the utilities than it does the consumer.

If the KL bill doesn't pass, there are rumors that Senators Bingaman and Snow are working on a more energy only focused bill as a fallback.  Without a carbon cap...

Meanwhile the  Murkowski amendment that would cripple the EPA authority is still in danger of  popping up.  She can apparently try to attach it to any fast track bill as an amendment and see it roll through, so climate advocates are trying to be very alert.

It is still a good idea to contact our Senators will a generic message saying that we want a strong bill.  So  call, write, or visit Senators Cardin and Milkulski to tell them how important it is to your community and the world that they support comprehensive climate and clean energy legislation that will reinvigorate our economy, create millions of jobs, and reduce climate change-causing pollution!  They are champions for our cause, AND they need to hear that we care, and that we want a bill this year!  There are additional  suggestions for what to include in letters to our Senators now at:   www.repoweramerica.org/letter-campaign/

In messaging to the public,  have to link the disastrous gulf oil spill with our urgent need to reduce use of dirty fossils  fuels that ruin our ecosystems - oil for our cars and coal for our electricity.  We have plenty of clean renewable energy we can develop, such as wind off the Maryland coast!  And simple conservation  will save up to 1/3.  There are tax credits and other subsidies to help people with appliance upgrades and small and large home retrofits to save on energy bills and reduce our dependence on coal!  With hard work and focus we can have an abundant clean energy future!

More analysis and action steps we can take as a group soon.