Climate bill in trouble — should enviros care?

According to TPM, the lone Republican Senator actively supporting a climate change/energy bill, Lindsey Graham, pulled his support for the bill because the Democrats have decided to go ahead with immigration reform first. 

Graham, who has unquestionably put his status as a conservative at risk, sounds genuinely angry in a letter obtained by the website : 

Moving forward on immigration — in this hurried, panicked manner — is
nothing more than a cynical political ploy. I know from my own personal
experience the tremendous amounts of time, energy, and effort that must
be devoted to this issue to make even limited progress.


Some of the major provisions we embraced in 2007 — such as creation
of a Virtual Fence using cameras, motion detectors and other
technological devices to protect our borders — have been scrapped for
the time. Other issues we found agreement on at the time, such as a
temporary guest worker program, have unraveled over the past three


Expecting these major issues to be addressed in three weeks — which
appears to be their current plan based upon media reports — is
ridiculous. It also demonstrates the raw political calculations at work

But should enviros support a bill that, as Bill McKibben said in a column earlier this week, will trade away the duty and obligation of the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate CO2 emissions? 

In the Washington Post on Earth Day, McKibben wrote: 

The bill's emission reductions are weakened by offsets and loopholes —
and to win support for even those concessions, it offers the fossil-fuel
industries a glittering collection of door prizes. President Obama
himself has already offered the first of these bent-knee offerings: a return to the full-on offshore drilling that was one of
the targets of the first Earth Day. Now a new generation will have a
chance to experience its own Santa Barbara oil spill, with its iconic
oil-soaked birds.

Worse, the bill might specifically remove the strongest tool the
environmentalists won in the wake of Earth Day 1: the Environmental Protection Agency's right
to use the Clean Air Act to bring the fossil fuel industries to heel.
Enforcement may be preempted under the new law. Even the right of states
to pioneer new legislation, such as California's landmark global
warming bill, apparently could disappear with the new legislation.

So when the media and the president hail it as a "landmark," understand
the shifting ground it actually defines: The environmental idea is too
weak right now to win passage of a tough bill to deal with our greatest

Or, as Toles put it in his uniquely succinct way: 

Published by Kit Stolz

I'm a freelance reporter and writer based in Ventura County.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: