Sen. Evan Bayh is widely considered to be a fence-sitter on climate legislation. He has a generally respectable environmental record, but his home state of Indiana is reliant on manufacturing and coal, so he worries that a climate bill could raise energy costs for his constituents and their employers.
In August, Bayh and nine other Democrats wrote a letter to President Obama saying they wouldn’t support a climate bill that puts American businesses on an uneven playing field. They called for a bill to include a tariff on goods imported into the U.S. from countries that don’t have binding targets for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.
Here’s a letter Bayh sent to a constituent in early October, confirming his fence-sitter position:
Thank you for contacting me regarding the impacts of global climate change. I appreciate your thoughts and concerns on this issue.
I am deeply concerned about the threat posed by global climate change. The scientific consensus on this issue is unequivocal. Global warming is real and greenhouse gas emissions from human activity are causing it. Scientists and others warn that climate change threatens our nation’s security, and may imperil future generations’ opportunity for safe, healthy, and prosperous lives.
However, any carbon-constraining mechanism must protect Hoosier ratepayers, workers and businesses from increased costs. Additionally, other nations of the world must be included in this effort, because if they are not, our action will be for naught.
Please rest assured, should legislation regarding global climate change be introduced in the 111th Congress, I will keep your views in mind.
Again, thank you for contacting me. I hope the information I have provided is helpful. My website, http://bayh.senate.gov, can provide additional details about legislation and state projects, and you can also sign up to receive my monthly e-newsletter, The Bayh Bulletin, by clicking on the link at the top of my homepage. I value your input and hope you will continue to keep me informed of the issues important to you.
Office of Senator Evan Bayh
Here’s more on Bayh and climate, as written by Kate Sheppard on 20 July 2009:
Enviros list Sen. Evan Bayh as one of the three Democrats most likely to vote against a climate and energy bill this year. During markup of the energy bill in the Energy and Natural Resource Committee in May, Bayh voted against including a renewable electricity standard — the only Democrat to do so. He cited concerns that it would raise energy costs for Indiana.
“Washington is poised to impose a renewable electricity standard that could disproportionately impact Indiana and other states that generate most of their energy from coal,” said Bayh in a statement in June.
Bayh has expressed concerns about the economic impacts of cap-and-trade on coal-dependent states like his. He voted against using the budget reconciliation process to pass climate policy earlier this year. And last year Bayh signed the letter from swing-vote Democrats saying they would have opposed final passage of the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act.
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