Our weekly look at the heroes and villains of the climate fight
Climate kudos this week go to House and Senate negotiators for cutting out billions of dollars in pork for coal and nuclear from the economic stimulus bill, while managing to protect most of the funding for good, green projects. For once, the legislative sausage-making process did not utterly disappoint.
We’d also like to give a shout-out this week to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar for shelving the Bush administration’s plan to poke drill bits into every available orifice. Now that’s change we Ken believe in!
A third green thumbs-up goes to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack for inaugurating the People’s Garden on a plot of pavement at USDA headquarters this week, and announcing his goal of creating community gardens at every USDA facility. The gardens are going to “promote ‘going green’ concepts” like landscaping and building design to retain water, roof gardens for energy efficiency, native plantings, and conservation practices. You’re kinda growing on us, Tom …
… but you’ve still got some work to do. Vilsack also gets the finger for pushing the Environmental Protection Agency to require more ethanol in gasoline, just as a coalition of environmental groups unveiled a report detailing how the U.S. biofuel program “exacerbates global warming.”
Another big honking finger goes to Dick Saslaw, the majority leader of the Virginia state Senate. Saslaw, a Democrat, this week cast the tie-breaking vote against a bill that would have required utilities to invest in energy-efficiency measures. The legislation would have saved Virginians up to $15 billion on their electric bills by the year 2025 and created thousands of jobs in the process, supporters said. Shocker: Saslaw has received $85,000 in campaign contributions from the coal-huggers at Dominion Power since 2004, more than any other legislator.
Got your own thoughts on who should get the climate finger this week? Put ‘em in the comments section below.