The signs have been pointing to Reid abandoning climate in favor of an energy-only bill. Yesterday, Reid gave a speech mentioning energy but not climate:
Beyond the immediate damage and our anger at those whose irresponsibility allowed it to happen in the first place, this spill underscores our need for a new energy policy. We need a policy that fully recognizes the obvious and hidden costs of the way we produce and consume energy today. We need to confront and limit the risks of future catastrophes. We cannot wait to act until after more tragedies and disasters happen.
A new energy policy must strongly encourage companies to invest rapidly in technologies that make us safer, more competitive and more energy independent. That means immediately refocusing our efforts on clean and renewable energy -- like the sun, the wind and geothermal energy -- improving energy efficiency and using more biofuels.
Nice rhetoric, but something is missing. It's the same thing missing from Obama's June 2 speech: mention of "climate change," "global warming," or similar concepts. (To his credit, Obama mentioned in passing that our reliance on fossil fuels "will smother our planet.")
ACELA is a porkfest, to put it bluntly: huge giveaways to every dirty energy source in exchange for a requirement that utilities get 15% of their power from renewable sources. It's so loaded with fossil fuel giveaways that some analysts believe that it will actually increase carbon pollution.
ACELA may be considered by itself, in combination with the Kerry-Lieberman American Power Act ("climate bill"), the Cantwell-Collins Carbon Limits and Energy for America's Renewal act, a Spill Bill, or other combinations. The situation is fluid. But if a climate bill -- any climate bill -- is offered as an amendment, instead of as half the climate-and-energy package, it's toast. David Roberts at Grist amplifies:
Let's be clear here: If there's an energy-only bill on the floor and a cap-and-trade system is offered as an amendment, the amendment will fail. That is as close to a certainty as you get in D.C. The whole reason the energy and climate portions of the bill were packaged together in the first place is to force lawmakers to accept the stick (cap) with the carrots (incentives for nukes, etc.). If they're allowed the opportunity to take all the good stuff with none of the bad stuff, of course they'll take it.
To further complicate matters, the ACELA leadership is signaling interest in the equally weak CLEAR bill. Politics makes for strange bedfellows: Senators Bingaman, Murkowski, and Voinovich join Cantwell and Collins in demanding that the Energy Information Administration analyze the CLEAR Act. Perhaps they plan to offer that as an amendment to compete with the Kerry-Lieberman bill.
Environmental crises of the past have led to strong environmental legislation. However, the biggest environmental crisis in American history is being wasted by Harry Reid.
Call Harry Reid at 202-224-3542.
Tell him you want him to put a climate bill, not an energy-only bill, on the floor.