Muckraker: Grist on Politics

Some political news debris from this week:

• The League of Conservation Voters announced today that they’ve created the first green bundling site. This allows folks to donate en masse to green candidates around the country. LCV will direct the funds to the candidates it will support this year in Senate and House races.

• Just off his big Everglades restoration deal, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist hosted a conference on climate change. Crist’s friend and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger also made an appearance at the conference, where he told the crowd that electric cars are “sexy,” and America’s energy policies are “shameful.” But Ahhhnold also took a jab at both Crist and GOP presidential candidate John McCain, saying that anyone who suggests that offshore drilling would lower gas prices is “blowing smoke.”

• Barack Obama is offering an organic-cotton campaign T-shirt to anyone who donates $30 or more.

• Jane Fleming Kleeb, wife of hot-rancher Nebraska Senate candidate Scott Kleeb, talked to Poltico this week about how bunk the criteria are for so-called “experts” in cable news. Fleming Kleeb, the deputy director of Young Voter PAC, was recently invited on “The O’Reilly Factor” to talk about global warming, a subject she says on which she’d hardly qualify as an expert.

• The Department of Energy released new requirements for funding under its new approach to FutureGen. Rather than pushing all the funds into a single “zero-emissions” plant in Illinois, DOE announced several months ago that the department will instead concentrate on carbon capture and sequestration components for multiple commercial power plants. Under threat of subpoena, DOE also handed over ($ub req’d) documents to the House Science and Technology Committee’s Investigations and Oversight panel on its decision to yank funding for FutureGen. Meanwhile, Congress is still trying to insert funding for FutureGen into other appropriations.

• Toy-making giant Mattel is lobbying Congress for a loophole that would let them skip out on independent lab testing of children’s products and instead conduct their own in-house certification.

• Guy Caruso, head of the Energy Information Administration, said on Wednesday that offshore drilling wouldn’t affect the price of gas very much, citing a recent report from his agency. This directly counters claims by the Bush administration, presidential candidate John McCain, and Congressional Republicans that drilling would bring down energy prices in the short term. “It does take a long time to develop those resources,” said Caruso. “Therefore the price impact is muted by that.”

• The House Appropriations Committee approved a bill that includes $1 million in funding for clean-energy initiatives at two Puget Sound area utilities.

• The House Committee on Science and Technology approved a measure to provide funding for the study of ocean acidification.

• By unanimous consent, the Senate passed the “Marine Pollution Prevention Act of 2008,” which will allow the U.S. to join an international treaty to cut ocean ship pollution. The House passed the bill last year.

• The Massachusetts legislature passed a “Green Communities Act” by unanimous consent on Thursday, which contains measures to encourage energy efficiency programs, provide incentives for towns to move forward with wind and solar energy projects, and requires that utilities enter into long-term contracts with renewable energy generators.

• While John McCain traveled the country talking up his energy plan and his idea to give a $300 million prize to the inventor of a better electric car battery, Fox News made the rather astute point (not something you get to say every day, eh?) that we already have a battery.

National Review tried to accuse NASA climatologist James Hansen of violating the Hatch Act by talking about the presidential candidates’ policies in 2004, but Think Progress set the record straight.