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Climate hawks and environmentalists, you are going to like this news:

Senator Edward J. Markey has been named to be the lead co-chair of the Climate Change Clearinghouse, a Senate discussion group that gives lawmakers a forum to consider efforts to curb global warming.

The move signals that the Massachusetts Democrat -- despite his freshman status -- will have a chance to pick up where he left off in the House, where he was a leading voice among lawmakers on the issue.

The appointment was announced on Wednesday by the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Democrats Barbara Boxer of California, the chairwoman of Environment and Public Works, and Ron Wyden of Oregon, chairman of the Energy Committee, will co-chair the forum with Markey. The group seeks to encourage collaboration on climate between those committees and the Foreign Relations Committee, of which Markey is a member.

“The dangers of climate change are clear. The costs to the United States are real. And the need for action from the public, businesses and government is urgent,’’ Markey said in a written statement. - Boston Globe, 9/25/13

Here's a little more info:

And as he explained in a March interview, a 2007 trip to Greenland helped further change his perspective climate change and the environment.

"They took us out onto this ice block about 50 miles where the scientific data was being gathered about the melting. As the summer goes on, these huge lakes of water form on top of the ice block and melt through to the bottom," he said. "It was an incredible experience to be there and see what the impacts of global warming are and why it's so necessary to lead a green energy revolution from Massachusetts. We have to be the leaders and we protect the planet against the worst catastrophic effects of global warming. And we can create tens of thousands of jobs here in Massachusetts while doing it. I've been working toward that goal of making us a leader but it was an eye opening experience."

The Climate Change Clearinghouse is the brainchild of Boxer who pushed for its creation in 2012. She talked of Markey as an asset to the group in a statement sent accompanying the announcement.

“I am so pleased that Senator Markey has joined the Climate Clearinghouse as lead co-chair," Boxer said. "He brings years of experience and will make a great contribution in our efforts to address climate change."

Wyden also praised Markey's experience on environmental issues.

“The Senate Climate Clearinghouse is tackling the most important environmental issue of our time and I can't think of anyone better than Senator Markey to chair it," Wyden said in a statement. "He's a proven leader on climate in the House and his experience, knowledge and passion will be a valuable addition to our efforts.” - The Republican, 9/25/13

Good news indeed.  Markey's been pretty busy working closely with his colleague Senator Elizabeth Warren (D. MA).  The Massachusetts duo recently secured funding to help curb juvenile recidivism rates, thanks to a grant from the Department of Labor:

On Tuesday, U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, both Massachusetts Democrats, announced that the state Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development has landed $11.67 million to boost employment opportunities and reduce recidivism for young men leaving the state's juvenile justice system.

Markey's office said that the beneficiary to the grant is the Massachusetts-based Roca program.

The grant aims to provide education and pre-vocational training to young people in the justice system to make them more employable and keep them from returning, as 67.5 percent do within six years of being released from custody, according to the state. The grant also aims to alter the statistic that among those released from the juvenile justice system in Massachusetts, just 35 percent have positive annual income and even among the employed, average annual earnings are only approximately $5,000.

Warren and Markey said in a statement that the grant will aid the 535 young men between the ages of 16 and 22 in Springfield and Chelsea working on exiting the state's juvenile justice system by way of the Roca program.

While the program began in eastern Massachusetts in 1988, in 2010 it was brought to Springfield thanks to a push by longtime Hampden County Sheriff Michael Ashe. As of July, the Springfield division of Roca had 85 participants, all high school dropouts, whose past troubles with the law make it difficult if not impossible to get work. - The Republican, 9/24/13

Markey and Warren are also making sure the heat is on for the upcoming Autumn weather:

U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, both Democrats, added their names to a letter to Senate leadership calling for any approved spending bill to allocate to the Department of Health and Human Services the full $3.46 billion to be divided among the states at the same level as 2012. But unlike a year ago when annual funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program was approved, the U.S. government now sits on the edge of a threatened "shutdown" as Democrats and Republicans wrestle over Obamacare and spending priorities.

Still, U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., and U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Me., are have led the bi-partisan push for a continuing resolution to fund the government past September 30 without dropping the level to $2.82 billion, as is in danger of happening.

“We cannot allow threats of a government shutdown to force Americans to shut off their thermostats this winter due to cuts to this vital home energy program. Sequestration is already leading to devastating benefit cuts to LIHEAP on top of the reductions that have occurred since 2010," Markey said in a statement. "Massachusetts residents are managing with smaller household budgets in part due to reduced LIHEAP funding. I will continue to work with Senators Reed and Collins and all of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure that critical home heating funds are protected during budget negotiations and in the winter months ahead."

Warren, who has been an outspoken critic of the so-called sequester that imposed sweeping cuts on government earlier this year as Congress failed to pass a budget, said that LIHEAP funding is a lifeline for too many families to allow more cuts.

“LIHEAP funding is essential to making sure families who are struggling to make ends meet can heat their homes and stay safe. This important funding has already been threatened by the sequester, and now it faces additional serious cuts," Warren said in a statement. "This doesn't make any sense, and we should act now to restore funding for this critical program. I applaud Senators Reed and Collins for their efforts to preserve LIHEAP funding, and I will continue fighting to make sure families have access to the heating assistance they need." - The Republican, 9/25/13

And the duo have also been looking out for Massachusetts' fisheries:

The entire Congressional delegation from Massachusetts took a unified stance this week in signing a letter sent to the Small Business Administration requesting assistance for the commonwealth's struggling fishing industry and the businesses the workers typically support.

In a letter addressed to the head of disaster assistance at the SBA, U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, along with the state's eight U.S. representatives asked for the agency to back the certification made by Governor Deval Patrick, that small businesses in Barnstable, Bristol, Essex, Plymouth, Norfolk and Suffolk counties have suffered substantial economic injury as a result of a fishery resource disaster. As part of the acknowledgment, the SBA is requested to develop a plan to provide economic assistance to fishermen through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.

“Our fishermen and fishing-related businesses need SBA assistance as they work to adjust to a perfect storm of events that threatens the future one of our nation’s oldest and most storied industries and the coastal communities that depend on it,” the letter states. "The assistance would be used to help ease the economic effects of federal regulations imposed to stop what the Department of Commerce and fishermen anticipate will be dramatic declines in groundfish stocks in the Massachusetts multispecies fishery, while also allowing critical investments to make the industry more sustainable in the long term.”

The once-booming fishing industry in Massachusetts and much of coastal New England has suffered in recent years due to increasingly strict catch limits and other impacting factors like the high cost of fuel. The most recent catch limits, which took effect May 1, included major cuts in the amount of bottom-dwelling ground fish that may be caught. - The Republican, 9/24/13

So yeah, Markey's been pretty busy.  For any of you curious about how Markey is looking for re-election next year, he's looking pretty good:

(Boston, Mass., 02/03/13) -- Rep. Ed Markey, who is running to replace the senate seat formerly held by Sec. of State John Kerry, speaks to supporters at a Super Bowl party in Dorchester on Feb. 3, 2013. Herald Photo by KELVIN MA.
Moving on to the US Senate race, it looks like a rematch for Ed Markey with Gabriel Gomez next year wouldn't be much of a contest. Markey now leads Gomez 53/35 in a hypothetical match up, and Gomez's favorability has slipped to a 31/40 spread following his loss in June. Richard Tisei wouldn't provide much competition for Markey either, trailing 54/27.

The only way Markey would have much stress next year is if Scott Brown decided to challenge him. But Brown's popularity is slipping in the state. Even as our final poll last year showed he was going to lose, he still had a 52/36 favorability rating. That's now slipped to 48/42, and the two are basically tied in a head to head with Markey holding the 46/45 advantage. Bill Weld would make it decently competitive too, but still trails Markey 47/41.

Massachusetts voters aren't exactly in love with Markey- they split evenly on his approval at 39%. But Barack Obama's approval rating in the state is 53/42- compared to 44/43 on our final poll when Brown beat Coakley in 2010. And as long as Obama's approval is over 50% Republicans aren't likely to pull off a lot of upsets in Massachusetts. - PPP, 9/24/13

I doubt Scott Brown will make his return but I wouldn't be surprised if Gabriel Gomez returned.  If you would like to stay in touch with Markey's campaign, you can do so here:
U.S. Senate candidate Ed Markey reacts with his wife, Susan Blumenthal, in Boston, Tuesday, April 30, 2013 as he celebrates winning the Democratic primary for the special U.S. Senate election. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Originally posted to pdc on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 08:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Massachusetts Kosmopolitans, Climate Change SOS, Climate Hawks, The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party, and Boston Kossacks.

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