More Than 300 Groups Push for Stronger Climate Bill in Senate

Wednesday, August 26, 2009 at 9:32 am

A letter (PDF) sent this morning to Senate Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) — signed by more than 300 environmental, social advocacy and other groups — urges the Senate to draft a climate bill with stronger environmental protections than the American Clean Energy and Security Act that passed the House in June.

“The environmental, economic, and public health threats of global warming – both in the United States and around the world – require a strong climate bill,” the letter says. “We are profoundly concerned that as currently written, H.R. 2454 (American Clean Energy and Security Act or ‘ACES’) falls far short.”

Among other changes, the letter calls for a lower cap on carbon emissions and the elimination of loopholes and “massive subsidies to coal and oil.”

This message is not going uncontested, however; the energy lobbies have been pushing in the opposite direction. Last month, the president of the Edison Electric Institute, an electric power industry group, sent a letter (PDF) to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), urging the Senate to “help reduce the costs of any cap-and-trade program to energy consumers” by lowering short-term emissions reduction targets and eliminating certain restrictions on free pollution allowances and offsets. EEI has also launched an energy information campaign through a new Website that promotes its side of the cap-and-trade story.

While it’s possible that the relatively liberal Environment and Public Works Committee will draft a bill with stronger environmental protections than its House counterpart, few expect the full Senate to collect 60 votes for such a bill.

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Comment posted August 26, 2009 @ 5:01 pm

Support for cap-and-trade is evaporating. Daily I read editorials, comments and letters-to-the-editor from all over the nation. Whereas when the House passed the bill it was maybe 2-to-1 against cap and trade, opinion now seems to be at least 6-to-1 against. The Senate will be wise to bury this unpopular, complex and risky legislation.

If instead of a cap-and-trade system the United States had a national mandate to replace coal generation plants with natural gas and nuclear energy, plus if we replaced our commuter cars with battery-powered electric cars, we would drastically reduce our dependence on foreign oil and reduce CO2 emissions faster and beyond the proposed cap and trade targets.

– Robert Moen,

Ann Grewe
Comment posted August 27, 2009 @ 12:47 pm

If Venice, Italy can build an advanced micro-algae power plant, why can't the U.S.? Our country's resources must be directed toward
- clean, renewable energy technologies like wind, solar, and geothermal
- energy efficiency programs like weatherstripping windows in all existing homes
- development of advanced technologies like micro-algae.

Not only is nuclear power not a renewable energy source, but it is dangerous and dirty–its radioactive emissions may be invisible, but as the National Academy of Sciences has determined, there is no safe level of radiation exposure. Additionally, producing more radioactive waste without a disposal path–as the nuclear industry would do–would simply create one more nightmarish environmental problem.

Our nation and our planet need strong, speedy and effective action to address the climate crisis, and nuclear power is none of these, it does not belong to the future. Cap and trade is only one provision in the energy bill and it will serve its purpose before it expires – and it won't leave nuclear waste behind!

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