As the House of Representatives nears a landmark vote on green economy legislation this Friday, some environmental organizations are staking hard positions — both for and against its passage. Although most national environmental groups are calling on Congress to “strengthen and pass” the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454), a few groups are going farther. Most notably, the League of Conservation Voters announced Tuesday it would withhold its influential endorsements from any member who votes against the “historic” Waxman-Markey clean energy legislation:
In light of the tremendous importance of this legislation, LCV has made the unprecedented decision that we will not endorse any member of the House of Representatives in the 2010 election cycle who votes against final passage of this historic bill.
In contrast, Friends of the Earth has announced its opposition to the bill, arguing that the support it has received from companies like Duke Energy and Shell Oil has come at too great a price to the environment and the American people:
There’s a simple reason polluting and irresponsible corporations support the Waxman-Markey bill: It showers them with hundreds of billions of dollars, but doesn’t require them to reduce pollution fast enough to avoid devastating climate change impacts. Worse, the bill guts the EPA’s preexisting authority to use the Clean Air Act to reduce this pollution. That means the bill is actually counterproductive — enacting it into law would be a step backward. What we need from Congress is much stronger legislation that puts us on a path to the clean energy future President Obama talked about during his campaign.
At Open Left, progressive blogger Chris Bowers argues that LCV drew its line in the sand in the wrong place. “LCV could have made the strengthening amendments the line in the sand,” Bowers explains, but its position “could put the LCV in a position where it works against members of Congress who voted to strengthen the bill” and voted against final passage if they “feel it is too weak.”
Center for American Progress John Podesta indirectly responded to Friends of the Earth — which is running ads on progressive and environmental websites — when he called on progressives to support this “imperfect” bill, which he believes still represents a dramatic improvement from the status quo.