Update on Lieberman-Warner and the energy bill

E&E Daily (subs. req’d) reports:

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) wants to strengthen global warming legislation over the next three weeks before her panel holds a vote on a measure already subject to significant compromise. But the chairwoman of the Environment and Public Works Committee also knows she doesn’t have a lot of room to maneuver….

Several other members on Boxer’s committee want more out of the climate bill, as well. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) must deal with White House rivals critical of any move she makes that would stop short of her presidential platform. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) hopes to force stronger pollution cuts from power plants. And Sens. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) would like to see more aggressive overall limits that square with scientific recommendations….

The bill’s other co-author, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), said he was open to tightening the 2050 target and also to moving forward the final 2036 phase-out date when industry can expect free allowances.

“We want to create a process that allows as much input and improvement of the bill,” Lieberman said. “We want to make sure we have the votes to get it out of the committee. Those two things may go together.”

Lieberman also said he didn’t think it would be possible to strengthen the legislation’s 2020 targets, which now sit at about a 20 percent cut below 2005 levels….

Several Republicans on Boxer’s committee want significant changes to the Lieberman-Warner legislation, including the deletion of any mandatory cap on U.S. emissions.

Good for you, “Several Republicans on Boxer’s committee”! The Senator from the state most affected by global warming has her own way of gutting the bill:

“We’re still looking at it,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), cosponsor of a competing climate bill from Sens. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) and Arlen Specter (R-Pa.). Murkowski said she was concerned the Lieberman-Warner bill didn’t include enough funding for Alaskan adaptation efforts. She also appears to favor a “safety valve” that would set a price ceiling on industry’s compliance costs.

Very sensible strategy, Lisa. If you insist on weakening the bill with a safety valve, then you’ll need a lot more funding for adaptation efforts!

“It’s interesting because you have got those who say it doesn’t go far enough, and for some of us, it goes too far,” Murkowski said. “So, we’ve got to find that middle ground.”

Absolutely. No point in supporting a bill that will actually save Alaska from becoming a muddy, flooded place when you can spend your time looking for middle ground between global warming denier Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) and those whose views are actually based on science.

What’s up with the Senate energy bill and CAFE? E&E Daily (subs. req’d) reports:

With time winding down on a final energy deal this year, proponents of Senate plans to boost auto mileage standards are confident they will largely get their way.

Several environmentalists said that while they have not heard anything definitive from House Democratic leaders, they have received intelligence that the final legislation will adopt the base Senate language, albeit with minor changes….

House and Senate lawmakers are trying to reconcile separate energy bills approved over the summer. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has said a final deal could come as soon as this week, but talks appear more likely to bleed into December….

Still plenty of time for the usual suspects to water down the bill:

The Senate energy bill calls for boosting CAFE for cars and light trucks to 35 miles per gallon by 2020. The House energy bill lacks CAFE language, but a coalition of moderate Democrats and some Republicans is pushing for a less-stringent alternative sponsored by Reps. Baron Hill (D-Ind.) and Lee Terry (R-Neb.). Supporters include Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), the chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Their plan would require that the average standard for the overall vehicle fleet sold in the United States be no less than 32 mpg and no greater than 35 mpg by 2022, while maintaining separate standards for cars and SUVs.

Proponents of the Hill-Terry plan say the issue is far from settled and believe there is still room to convince Democratic leaders to accept their version. Terry told reporters Friday that there has been little interaction between the Democratic leadership and his faction on the CAFE debate….

And Terry has friends:

“We have another group of people, my conservative friends that said, ‘I hate CAFE, but if it comes down between you and the worse bill, we are with you,'” Terry said. “That’s about another group of 30 or 40 people that do not want to be named on a CAFE bill but will support us if that is the choice that they have.”

Hill and Terry last week sent a letter to Pelosi that catalogs supporters of their plan, including autoworkers, members of the Blue Dogs and Congressional Black Caucus. The letter threatens to oppose the whole energy package if it contains the Senate CAFE language.

“Should the final bill create a fuel economy standard more strict than the Hill-Terry bill, we would be forced to reconsider our support for the entire energy package when it comes before the full House of Representatives for a vote,” stated the letter.

Considering that we’ll need CAFE of 55 mpg by 2030 to make a serious effort to avoid catastrophic warming, the country has a long, long way to go politically….

2 Responses to Update on Lieberman-Warner and the energy bill

  1. David B. Benson says:

    The politicians are way behind the citizens, especially the younger ones. We may hope for better representation after the next general in a year…

  2. Shannon says:

    This is a great example of how corporate interests run our country.