Committee Shift Bad for Climate LegislationSeptember 9, 2009 - by Donny Shaw
As Paul wrote earlier, Sen. Chris Dodd is staying Chairman of the Banking Committee, Sen. Tom Harkin is moving over to lead the HELP Committee, and Sen. Blanche Lincoln will be replacing Harkin as Chair of the Agriculture Committee.
Lincoln has called for a delay on climate legislation until 2010, arguing that it would be too difficult for the Senate to move both health care and a climate and energy bill this year. “The problem of doing both of them together is that it becomes too big of a lift,” Lincoln said last month. Though the Senate could move energy legislation, she said, “I see the cap-and-trade being a real problem.”
Lincoln recently called the House climate and energy bill “a complete non-starter,” pledging that the Senate would move more slowly on legislation do more to address regional concerns. Her own concerns have been potential rises in energy costs and impacts on agriculture. As a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, she agreed to support a renewable electricity standard only after it was lowered from 20 percent by 2020 to 15 percent.
She’s also been very pro-domestic fossil fuel development, noting on her Website, “I am committed to examining all options that will lessen our dependence on foreign oil, including incentives for conservation technologies, as well as offshore drilling.” Last summer she was a member of a bipartisan group of senators calling for an energy bill that included additional development of fossil fuel resources, in addition to tax incentives for renewables.