Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) are headed for a clash over energy and climate legislation.
Reid is poised to move an energy bill to the Senate floor that would not include a controversial proposal to cap carbon emissions, according to one of his deputies.
Pelosi says the “climate crisis” is her “flagship issue.”
As I’ve said repeatedly, you can envision a bill that includes a good renewable energy standard and an energy efficiency piece, along with tough standards in reaction to the BP oil tragedy, as a step forward. But the Bingaman bill which passed the Natural Resources Committee last year is not that bill.
Believe it or not, Dick Lugar’s energy bill is probably closer to that vision, though not very close:
This morning, Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) was slated to introduce his own energy package, an alternative to the Kerry-Lieberman bill, at a press conference, but it was delayed due to a flight cancellation. Lugar outlined the measure back in March, which mostly relies on improved fuel economy standards and a massive expansion of nuclear power, with no firm limits on carbon pollution. There was a range of reactions from environmental groups on the Lugar effort, noting basically that his measure doesn’t do enough on climate, but that it should be taken as a positive sign that he wants to engage on the subject. Ever since Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) walked away from the Kerry-Lieberman effort, the bill has been lacking any Republican support.
The energy efficiency plank in the Lugar bill is far better, and the renewable energy standard is decent. It would also retire the oldest and costliest coal-fired plants. Of course it adds this giveaway to the nuclear industry ($36 billion in loan guarantees, actually less than Kerry-Lieberman).
It’s a sad moment when Dick Lugar has the best option for an energy bill in the Senate.
UPDATE: So here’s Reid on this today:
REID: Well, there’s been no decision made, at all, as to what we’re going to do. This Thursday, I’m going to have a meeting with I think there will be six or seven chairs there, maybe seven, to talk about the different energy proposals. The one is Kerry-Lieberman. The other is the Bingaman proposal. There’s a report out of that committee.
And then, a week from Thursday, we’re going to have a full caucus to talk about energy. And until that’s completed, there’s no decisions made.
Any of the press reports that you saw yesterday, there’s not a word that I said. It’s all other people talking.
Looks to me like the climate community has about a week to make a difference in this debate. They can decide to be reasonable or unreasonable. There was a similar moment in the DADT debate where Gates said “I don’t want anything passing until the study is done,” and activists at that moment went to work embarrassing everyone and anyone in power with a variety of strategies to get what they wanted. Will climate activists do the same? Or will they settle and suffer in silence? The political obstacles are larger on the climate, but the dynamic is basically the same.
…David Roberts has the state of play.