Senate Democrats yesterday were scrambling to prevent the sweeping energy overhaul bill, a top domestic priority, from crumbling amid growing regional divisions within their party and Republican concerns.

“The moment of truth on this energy bill is coming very shortly,” Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) said.

Also, argh:

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Three powerful lobbying forces — automakers, electric utilities and the coal industry — are confounding Democrats’ efforts to forge a less-polluting energy policy.

This is it: crunch time. Time to fight. We finally have a chance to drag the country’s energy policy back toward sanity, and entrenched industrial dinosaurs will fight it every way they can: with money, with intense lobbying, and with a massive propaganda campaign.

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Everybody needs to wake up and start getting vocal about this. The fight will not be won if every news story about this stuff has that wan little third-from-last paragraph that starts, "but environmentalists said blah blah blah …" Everybody’s used to that paragraph. It doesn’t cause anyone to blink. We need members of Congress out there fighting this, openly and publicly. We need national security groups fighting. Religious groups. Health groups. Economists. Everyday citizens.

Call or write your member of Congress. It’s crunch time.

Oh, and this:

An intense GOP fight against the [renewable portfolio standard] proposal has been waged largely at the behest of two of the country’s biggest coal-burning electricity producers — the Atlanta-based Southern Company and the Tennessee Valley Authority. The companies, in letters to senators, argued that the requirement to produce 15 percent of their power from renewable energy sources can’t be met without huge electricity cost increases. Supporters of the measure argue that is false.

Two things:

  1. Every Republican in the country needs to have this hung around their neck: their party is fighting to delay our clean, green future on behalf of a few large, old, corrupt corporations. If Democrats can’t make this into an electoral issue — to either pry a few Republicans loose from the Dinosaur Coalition or get a few new green Dems elected — they are fools.
  2. Opponents of the measure say it would increase electricity rates. Supporters disagree. You know what? This would be a great time for reporter H. Josef Hebert to make some calls, do a little research, and step in to tell his readers who is right. Will it or won’t it raise electricity prices? Will that rise in prices be offset by lower healthcare prices from reduced pollution? Will new jobs be created in renewable industries? How the hell are Americans supposed to know if all reporters do is set competing claims against each other and leave it at that?