Sen. Jim Webb is a moderate, and Virginia is a coal state. His House colleagues won major concessions for the coal industry in the Waxman-Markey climate bill, but whether they’ll be enough to win over Webb remains to be seen. Virginia Rep. Rick Boucher, who led the pro-coal lobby in shaping the House bill, is reportedly leaning on Webb to support the legislation.
Last year, Webb told Politico that environmentalists would have to compromise and support the development of clean coal and nuclear power. “We need to be able to address a national energy strategy and then try to work on environmental efficiencies as part of that plan,” Webb said. “We can’t just start with things like emission standards at a time when we’re at a crisis with the entire national energy policy.”
Earlier this year, Webb voted against using the budget reconciliation process to pass climate policy. Last year, he voted to move the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act to a vote on the Senate floor, but then signed a letter from 10 swing-vote Democrats saying he would have opposed final passage of the bill.
UPDATE, 7/28/09: A reader stopped by Webb’s office and offers this report: Webb’s Legislative Correspondent Jennifer Bryant said the senator does not like the bureaucracy of a cap-and-trade system and is promoting a cap-and-dividend approach that he hopes would be more efficient in getting funds back into the hands of constituents. Bryant said Webb is in regular contact with the relevant committee members and is hopeful they can get something passed before the international climate talks in Copenhagen in December.
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