The Washington Post has confirmed that two Washington lobbyists, Jeffrey R. Holmstead and Roger R. Martella, Jr., helped craft the original amendment Murkowski planned to offer on the floor last fall. Both Holmstead, who heads the Environmental Strategies Group and Bracewell & Guiliani, and Martella, a partner at Sidley Austin LLP, held senior posts at EPA under the Bush administration and represents multiple clients with an interest in climate legislation pending before Congress.
This is the year we learn whether anti-science ideologues will be able to kill the bipartisan climate and clean energy jobs bill. And that means we’ll learn whether a few moderates who have talked a good game on climate are statesmen- and -women or hypocrites.
Last year, Sen. Murkowski could not make up her mind whether she wanted to help preserve her state or destroy it (see “Lisa Murkowski proposes to fiddle while Alaska burns“). And again today, as the WSJ reports, “Sen. Lisa Murkowski on Tuesday left open the possibility that she would seek a vote next week on stopping the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from going forward with regulations to limit greenhouse-gas emissions.”
Yet, she clearly knows that global warming is devastating Alaska, as she pointed out in a 2006 speech:
When I visit the Native villages in northern Alaska, I ask the village elders what climate change means to them. They don’t speak about the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, or attempt to debunk the now infamous hockey stick theory. They tell me what they have personally observed over the years….
Warmer, drier air, has allowed the voracious spruce bark beetle to migrate north, moving through our forests in the south-central part of the state. At last count, over three million acres of forest land has been devastated by the beetle, providing dry fuel for outbreaks of enormous wild fires. To give you some perspective, that is almost the size of Connecticut.So we recognize that times have changed, things are changing, and we need a new Arctic policy.
So why is she trying to stop the EPA from regulating carbon pollution (see here)? Apparently her new Arctic policy is to delay the EPA from doing its job and regulating CO2. Now the Washington Post reports she had help from lobbyists for big corporations and polluters:
In an interview, Holmstead said of the Murkowski amendment, “I certainly worked with her staff” on the exact phrasing of the measure in September.
“I was involved,” he said, adding that Martella also helped advise Murkowski’s aides on the matter. “The line out of the White House and the administration was that the amendment would block the car and truck rule” setting the first-ever greenhouse gas limits on emissions from vehicles, which are set to become final in March.
Holmstead represents industry interests including Southern Company, Duke Energy, Progress Energy and the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council on climate matters, according to congressional lobbying registration forms, while Martella represents the National Alliance of Forest Owners and the Alliance of Food Associations on the same subject.
I had hoped her amendment meant she will be voting for the bipartisan climate and clean energy bill, given her statements on the subject (see Murkowski calls for tougher energy bill: “Climate legislation must have more immediate environmental benefits” than Waxman-Markey!)
But the fact she has been working closely with lobbyists for polluters suggest that her new Arctic policy is the same as the old one “” do nothing and let the whole damn thing melt and burn (see “M.I.T. doubles its 2095 warming projection to 10°F “” with 866 ppm and Arctic warming of 20°F“).
This amendment will see a fight, as the WSJ reports:
Democrats on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee sought to rally support for the EPA, rushing out a letter opposing Ms. Murkowski.
“Debating policy choices regarding the appropriate response to unchecked climate change is fair, and the Senate will continue to evaluate the best tools for addressing greenhouse gas emissions,” Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer (D., Calif.) and fellow Democrats wrote in a letter to colleagues. “But repealing an endangerment finding based upon years of work by America’s scientists and public health experts is not appropriate.”
But seriously, Sen. Murkowski, who could possibly be more endangered from human-caused warming than Alaskans?