Lots of stuff going on in D.C.
Lordy, the developments are happening so fast I can barely keep up with them. Here are a few more of note.
Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and John Warner (R-Va) are teaming up to put together comprehensive climate legislation. You can bet that whatever they come up with is going to be way over on the business-friendly side of things, but nonetheless this is a big development. Lieberman and Warner are both key members of the Senate EPW committee, where chair Barbara Boxer has come under fire lately for losing control of the climate change issue and letting it slide.
Warner is old, old school. If he’s on board, that could provide the impetus for things to get going and even get passed in EPW. Here’s a bit from the press release (which I can’t find online):
The new bill will aim to structure an economy-wide cap and trade program that provides maximum flexibility to the marketplace to meet a level of attainable emission reductions that are environmentally credible. It will provide federal investment in new technologies, include cost-containment provisions, and ensure international participation by developing nations.
… Senator Warner said, “In my 28 years in the Senate, I have focused above all on issues of national security, and I see the problem of climate change as fitting within that focus. It is the responsibility of the Executive and Legislative Branches to join in taking a leadership role to address this national and international problem. This duty was made clear by the Supreme Court’s ruling earlier this year that confirmed the federal government’s obligation under the law to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. I look forward to working with Senator Lieberman and my Senate colleagues to craft a comprehensive climate bill.”
Elsewhere, today the House passed a Interior and environment appropriations bill (sub. rqd.) — after, if you can believe this, criticism from Republicans about the number of earmarks … the gall — that included a "Sense of the Congress" resolution recognizing the urgency of climate change and the need for a mandatory program to cut emissions. Smokey Joe Barton tried to block the amendment, but was outvoted 153-274, with 44 Republicans crossing over. Looks like both parties are getting the message. (Oh, the bill also boosts funding for parts and environmental protections, which is cool too.)
Yet elsewhere, the House Science Committee passed four energy bills (sub. rqd.) today that will eventually, says chair Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.), be rolled into the comprehensive House energy legislation slated for July. They are:
- the Global Change Research and Data Management Act (H.R. 906), which would expand the U.S. Global Change Research program to include more policy-relevant inquiry;
- the Department of Energy Carbon Capture and Storage Research, Development and Demonstration Act (H.R. 1933), which would put aside money for CCS research and demonstration projects (interestingly, an amendment to make CTL plants eligible for these funds was defeated);
- the Biofuels Research and Development Enhancement Act (H.R. 2773), which would create an information center to coordinate research on biofuels (interestingly, an amendment to make CTL eligible for some of this research money was defeated);
- and finally, the Solar Energy Research and Advancement Act (H.R. 2774), which would establish a program within the DOE to research integrating concentrated solar into regional energy grids and reducing the amount of water concentrated solar uses; it would also put aside grant money for solar industry training and internship programs.
And finally, today both Chrysler and Ford joined the U.S. Climate Action Partnership. That means all three big American automakers are on board behind a cap-and-trade system.
Whew. Could you have seen any of this coming two years ago?