By historical standards, the 111th Congress has been incredibly prolific. But on the most important issue facing humanity right now, they never even got so far as introducing a viable bill in the all-important upper chamber.Read Full Article Comments (9)
When the Senate abandoned their climate bill earlier this year, the renewable energy standard (RES), which was the other big provision in it besides cap-and-trade, seemed to die with it. The provision would have required utilities to produce more of their power from clean sources like wind and solar, but It wasn't brought back in the scaled-down energy package that Majority Leader Harry Reid [D, NV] put together from remnants of the dead climate bill. "The numbers that we have indicate that those votes are not there," Reid said in July regarding a RES.
Now, a, bipartisan pair of senators is out to prove Reid wrong. On Tuesday, Sen. Jeff Bingaman [D, NM] and Sen. Sam Brownback [R, KS] introduced a stand-alone RES bill that would mandate 15% of power to be generated by renewables -- not 20% like the climate bill -- and they're now up to 25 co-sponsors. Significantly, four of the co-sponsors are Republicans, which is a big deal considering the lack of aisle-crossing in the Senate the past few months.
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Sen. Charles Schumer [D, NY] essentially announced the death of climate change legislation yesterday when he revealed the Democrats' plan to take cap-and-trade out of their energy bill and vote on it as a stand-alone amendment. Cap-and-trade simply does not have 60 votes to break a Republican filibuster. But that doesn't mean climate change won't be dealt with soon. The EPA has been given authority to regulate carbon dioxide and they have made it clear that they will use that authority if Congress doesn't pass a climate bill.Read Full Article Comments (2)
For the past week, the primary topic of conversation in Washington, D.C. has been the record snowfall that continues to bury the city. Now some Republican lawmakers are citing the blizzard as a reason to kill comprehensive climate change legislation. Yesterday, Sen. Jim DeMint [R, SC] tweeted, “It's going to keep snowing in DC until Al Gore cries ‘uncle.’” When asked about the prospects of cap-and-trade legislation limiting carbon emissions, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell ...Read Full Article Comments (2)
If you read my climate change primer, you know that House leaders were expected to push for a comprehensive energy package, tying together a climate change bill and legislation for a renewable energy standard, changes to nations electrical grid, and energy efficiency. On Tuesday, a draft of that House package was released by the Energy and Commerce Committee.Read Full Article Comments (4)
House members defeated a huge public lands bill on Wednesday, when the Omnibus Public Land Management Act fell two votes shy of approval. Conservationists called the bill "landmark legislation" because it would have protected more than 2 million acres of federal land as wilderness. It was a procedural move by House leaders, however, that led to the bill's failure.Read Full Article Comments (2)