robert byrdRobert Byrd

Sen. Robert Byrd hated the climate bill that passed the House in June (more on that below), but he seems a little more open to the Kerry-Boxer bill being considered in the Senate.  As the Bluefield Daily Telegraph reported just after the bill was introduced:

[Byrd] said he was encouraged by the greater focus on clean coal technology, but still concerned about the proposed bill.

“I will continue to work with my colleagues to strike a balance that treats West Virginia’s interests fairly as the legislative process moves forward,” Byrd said. “However, I will actively oppose any bill that would harm the workers, families, industries or our resource-based economy in West Virginia.”

Byrd said he was glad to see that Kerry and Boxer included provisions he and other senators recommended related to carbon capture and storage techniques.

“While this is an encouraging sign, we have a long way to go on this legislation,” Byrd said. “Many issues have yet to be addressed. There is still a tough road ahead.”

In August, Byrd 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 more on Byrd and climate, as written by Kate Sheppard on 21 July 2009:

Sen. Robert Byrd has been an adamant supporter of coal throughout his long tenure in the Senate. Coal is his No. 1 interest in climate legislation, and the major concessions made to the industry in the House climate bill weren’t enough to win him over. (Nor were they enough to win over West Virginia’s two Democratic representatives, Nick Rahall and Alan Mollohan, who both voted against the bill.)

Byrd’s staff sent out an official statement from the senator shortly after the House passed the legislation. “I cannot support the House bill in its present form,” Byrd said in the statement. “I continue to believe that clean coal can be a ‘green’ energy. Those of us who understand coal’s great potential in our quest for energy independence must continue to work diligently in shaping a climate bill that will ensure access to affordable energy for West Virginians.”

Last year, Byrd was the only Democrat to vote against even starting debate on the Senate climate bill. He was not present for the main vote on the bill.

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