Blogs - Blogs
“Combative Start to Senate Climate Hearings” – “Climate Fight: The Senate Tackles Global Warming Bill” – “Dem: Long Battle Ahead of Us” – “Senators Draw Battle Lines on Cap-and-Trade”
July 7, 2009

Posted by: Matt Dempsey


News Round-Up: EPW Kicks Off Latest Global Warming Debate 


Watch: Democrat Senator: "Long Battle Ahead of Us" on Global Warming Bill  Link 

Bond: The American People Deserve Answers on the Costs of Democrats’ Cap and Trade Bill to Family Budgets, Lost Jobs, Press Release, July 07, 2009: U.S. Senator Kit Bond today called on Democrats to tell the American people the truth about the cost of their cap and trade legislation to family budgets and lost jobs. “The American people and my Missouri constituents deserve to know how the legislation we consider will impose new energy taxes upon them, kill their jobs, punish the Midwest and South, help China and India, and construct a new bureaucratic nightmare to implement a carbon cap and trade program,” said Bond. Link                  

Barbour Urges Rejection of Energy Plan, Clarion-Ledger Washington Bureau, July 07, 2009:  Gov. Haley Barbour urged Senators Tuesday to reject a Democratic energy plan that he said would increase costs for American consumers and businesses at a time when many are struggling."It's hard to believe that at a time when growing our economy is our number one priority Congress is considering a bill that would reduce economic growth," Barbour, R-Miss. Barbour testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee considering a bill to reduce greenhouse emissions. Link 

Crapo: Include Nuclear in Climate Change Plans, Press Release, July 07, 2009: Any successful effort at addressing climate change, including cap and trade legislation, must include incentives to increase energy production from nuclear power sources, Idaho Senator Mike Crapo told Cabinet secretaries from the Obama Administration today.  Crapo’s comments came during a hearing of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.  As a member of the committee, he had the opportunity to question Energy Secretary Steven Chu and hear testimony from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson.  “We need to diversify,” Crapo asserted.  “The utilization of both wind and solar power should be increased, but any successful plan to reduce carbon emissions must also involve nuclear power, and increase nuclear research such as that underway at the nation’s leading nuclear laboratory, the Idaho National Laboratory.  Nuclear power is the best and quickest way to increase our clean energy options.  It should be included in any climate change or cap and trade-type legislation.” Link

“Culture of Intimidation” Rules EPA Barrasso calls for a Senate Investigation into EPA activities, Press Release, July 07, 2009: Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) has called for a Senate investigation into the silencing of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials and Small Business Administration lawyers by the Administration. “It is clear that there is a culture of intimidation in the EPA. They have ignored, and willfully blocked warnings from their own scientists, their own economists and their own lawyers,” Barrasso said. This spring, the Obama Administration strongly reacted to revelations that their own attorneys had serious concerns about regulating climate change using the Clean Air Act.“These concerns were both economic and scientific and were ignored by top officials in the Administration,” Barrasso said.“This is unacceptable behavior for any Administration, let alone one that claims to support openness.  Unfortunately, the culture of intimidation has now become a pattern.” Link

EPW Republicans to Majority: American Public Deserves to Know What Is In the Global Warming Bill, Press Release, July 7, 2009: WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, along with all EPW Republican members, today sent a letter to Chairman Boxer requesting that the majority hold hearings on actual climate legislation, so that the American people know which global warming bill will be considered by the Senate. The Republicans write in the letter, “In the House, critical components of their bill were not made public and transparent for review until hours before the final vote on the floor--and only a few days before final vote in the Committee. Certainly you would agree with us that the American people and their elected representatives deserve a public, transparent, and thorough review of this legislation.  Recognizing the complexity and the magnitude of this legislation, we request you hold several legislative hearings on the text of legislation that you will mark-up in the Committee.” Link 

Watch: Jackson Confirms EPA Chart Showing No Effect on Climate Without China, India, Press Release, July 7, 2009: Washington, D.C.-During a hearing today in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, EPA Administrator Jackson confirmed an EPA analysis showing that unilateral U.S. action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions would have no effect on climate.  Moreover, when presented with an EPA chart depicting that outcome, Energy Secretary Steven Chu said he disagreed with EPA's analysis. "I believe the central parts of the [EPA] chart are that U.S. action alone will not impact world CO2 levels," Administrator Jackson said.  Link 

Barrasso urges probe of EPA 'endangerment' work,  Greenwire, (07/07/2009) - Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) is calling for a Senate investigation of U.S. EPA's handling of the "endangerment" finding, accusing the agency of ignoring and suppressing reservations expressed by its employees. At issue is EPA's proposed finding that greenhouse gases endanger human health and welfare. If finalized, the proposal could trigger broad regulation of the heat-trapping industrial emissions. In a letter to the Senate Environment and Public Works Oversight Subcommittee chairman, Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Barrasso calls for an investigation and a series of hearings to ensure that the process used to develop the finding is open and transparent. Barrasso is the subcommittee's ranking member. Barrasso and other Republican lawmakers have blasted the Obama administration in recent weeks over the development of the finding, accusing the administration of attempting to silence the views of EPA employees who warned against finalizing the proposal. "It is clear that there is a culture of intimidation in the EPA," Barrasso said in a statement. "They have ignored, and willfully blocked warnings from their own scientists, their own economists and their own lawyers."

Climate Fight: The Senate Tackles Global Warming Bill, Wall Street Journal, July 07, 2009: The chattering classes have something to distract them from another muggy Washington summer—now the Senate has started grappling with the climate change bill. Today’s slate of heavyweight hearings was just a taste of what’s to come over the next month. One of the common tropes about the whole debate over climate change in Congress is that ideology matters a lot less than geography. That is, old-energy interests trump party lines. That was certainly true in the House, where the biggest challenge facing Democrats was how to coax their own wayward members back into line. But in the Senate? The opening salvoes in the climate debate today provided fewer fireworks than expected—and those that were fell in predictable parabolas.  California’s Barbara Boxer, chairwoman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, praised the House bill and urged her colleagues to rise to the challenge. Ranking Republican James Inhofe of Oklahoma started out decrying the costs of climate legislation and finished by challenging the notion of global warming altogether. Link 

Combative Start to Senate Climate Hearings, New York Times, July 07, 2009: The Senate is holding its first hearings on pending climate change legislation, and disagreements among Senators are stark. Senator Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat and the chairwoman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, accused Republicans of blocking climate and energy solutions and perpetuating “a pattern of no — no, we can’t. No, we won’t. Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, the ranking Republican, fired back. “Once the American public realizes what this legislation will do to their wallets, they will soundly reject it,” he said. The top-level panel addressing the senators included Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Hearings with an additional panel will continue this afternoon and can be watched live here.  As yet, there is no climate bill before the Senate that would be equivalent to the bill passed by the House last month. But Senator Boxer is expected to release a draft sometime in the next few weeks. The Senate has also been working separately on an energy bill. Link 

Senators Draw Battle Lines on Cap-and-Trade, Washington Examiner:  The Senate’s first hearing on climate legislation since the House passed the landmark American Clean Energy and Security Act is underway. And unlike in much of the House debate, there’s little pretense of bipartisanship thus far in the Senate discussion. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) opened the hearing with a shot at her colleagues across the aisle. “Today, I expect you will hear fierce words of doubt and fear and worse from the other side of the aisle regarding our legislative efforts to move forward with clean energy jobs legislation,” she said. “This is consistent with a pattern of ‘No, we can’t.’” Committee ranking member James Inhofe (R-Okla.) countered, “You can be sure of this: once the American public realizes what this legislation will do to their wallets, they will resoundingly reject it.” Link 

Obama Officials Urge Senate to Act on Climate, AP, July 07, 2009,  Excerpt: Unlike the House, the Senate has tried and failed to pass legislation to curb the global warming pollution before, a track record Republicans seized on Tuesday… Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe, the top Republican on the panel, predicted that Americans would feel the pinch of higher energy prices. "You can be sure of this: once the American public realize what this legislation will do to their wallets, they will resoundingly reject it," Inhofe said. "Perhaps that explains why we are rushing cap-and-trade through the Senate."Link

White House Presses Cap and Trade to Senate, Wall Street Journal, July 07, 2009, Excerpt: Meanwhile, the political climate for the cap-and-trade system remains tough in the Senate. Democrats hold a 60-seat majority thanks to the victory of Al Franken in the long-disputed race for a Senate seat from Minnesota. However, the cap-and-trade system makes even some Democrats nervous, especially those from states that extract energy and minerals and rely on heavy industry. Ms. Boxer's committee won't be the only one to work on cap-and-trade. She and Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman and other Democrats in the Senate will work together on climate-change legislation. Link  

Alexander Pushes Nuclear Power As “The Cheap, Clean Energy Solution” Chattanoogan, July 7, 2009: Senator Lamar Alexander today told a panel of administration officials that the United States should build 100 new nuclear plants in the next 20 years. “Why are we ignoring the cheap energy solution to global warming which is nuclear power?” Alexander asked a hearing of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), of which he is a member.  He said, “Over the next 20 years, if we really want to deal with global warming, we really only have one option and that is to double the number of nuclear power plants. There is no technological way to obtain a large amount of cheap, reliable, clean electricity other than nuclear power.” Link  


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