Today, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, announced that she will introduce two pieces of green legislation in January.
The first is a proposal to create a grant program that would hand out $15 billion a year to support clean energy innovation. This is in line with Barack Obama’s campaign promise to spend $150 billion over 10 years on clean energy, and with the widely perceived need for economic stimulus during the economic downturn.
The second bill would direct the U.S. EPA to develop a carbon cap-and-trade system by amending the Clean Air Act. Boxer offered few details about the program beyond saying that it would be "streamlined" and simple — perhaps an implicit reference to the bloated, complex Lieberman-Warner bill that died in the Senate last year.
Boxer’s announcement is only the latest signal that the federal government will try to act aggressively on climate change early in Obama’s first term. On Tuesday, Obama’s chief of staff Rahm Emanuel told a group of businessmen that the administration would "throw deep and long," acting aggressively on, among other things, funding green infrastructure.
Also on Tuesday, Obama reiterated his commitment to bold action in a taped statement to the Governors’ Global Climate Summit. Earlier today, the House Democratic caucus voted to remove John Dingell from his chairmanship of the House Energy Committee and replace him with Henry Waxman, who’s widely seen as more supportive of ambitious climate action.
Now, with Boxer unveiling her plans, the Democratic energy strategy has become crystal clear: act quickly and boldly.
We’ll bring you more details about Boxer’s proposed legislation as they emerge. More details on the EPW Committee site.