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Best Congress That Money Can Buy

This was predictable. House Democrats yesterday announced that they’ve watered down their climate change bill to satisfy the same polluters considered most responsible for changing climate trends. From The Washington Post:

That first draft called for a 20 percent reduction in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. Under the new agreement, the goal would be a 17 percent reduction.

Also, the bill originally called for all states to get 25 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2025. Under the new version, the standard would be lowered to 15 percent by 2020, plus a requirement to reduce energy use by 5 percent by then through improved energy efficiency, Hill staffers said.

Democrats from states that get most of their electricity from coal — which has particularly high emissions — had warned that the 25 percent standard could force them into a rapid, costly shift.

The argument, of course, will be that this “rapid, costly shift” would eliminate jobs in these carbon-rich regions. But there’s another “rapid, costly shift” that might follow as well: Namely, the oil and gas industries have already spent $44.6 million lobbying Congress in the first three months of 2009 alone, with the electric companies adding an additional $34.4 million, according to the money-in-politics watchdog, Center for Responsive Politics. As Grist, the environmental news Website, points out, the renewable energy sector has spent only $14.4 million over the same span, with environmental groups contributing just $4.7 million.

Sierra Club President Carl Pope issued this statement on the dirty industries’ influence this morning:

It is clear that Big Oil, Big Coal and other polluters are still holding out for a Congressional bailout. They will continue to try to riddle this legislation with loopholes, water it down, and load it up with hundreds of billions of dollars in giveaways. They don’t want it to deliver a recovery fueled by the clean energy jobs that America needs.

The best lawmakers that money can buy.

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