Senate climate legislation

Wed, 2010-07-14 16:03Brendan DeMelle
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American Petroleum Institute's Revisionist History on Climate Change Position

The American Petroleum Institute, the trade group for the oil and natural gas industry, is trying to re-write history by claiming that it has remained “neutral” about U.S. climate legislation.

Nothing could be further from the truth, actually.

API orchestrated the entire “Energy Citizens” astroturf campaign last year precisely to fight against climate legislation. Greenpeace USA obtained an internal memo[PDF] from the desk of API president Jack Gerard detailing polluting interests’ plans to launch the nationwide astroturf campaign attacking climate legislation as “tax increases on our industry.”

The API memo requested API’s member companies to recruit employees, retirees, vendors and contractors to attend the “Energy Citizen” rallies in key Congressional districts nationwide during the August recess last year, no doubt hoping to be confused with a genuine grassroots uprising, much like the tea parties.

In fact, the API memo confirms that it would be funding and staffing the whole highly-orchestrated campaign:

To be clear, API will provide the up-front resources to ensure logistical issues do not become a problem. This includes contracting with a highly experienced events management company that has produced successful rallies for presidential campaigns, corporations and interest groups. It also includes coordination with the other interests who share our views on the issues, providing a field coordinator in each state, conducting a comprehensive communications and advocacy activation plan for each state, and serving as central manager for all events.

Fast-forward to yesterday, when Anne Mulkern of E&E’s Greenwire (syndicated by the New York Times) reported on comments made by API spokeswoman Cathy Landry:

Landry said API has not been among those calling climate legislation a national energy tax. API has not come out in opposition to any of the Senate climate bills, saying that it is “neutral.”

Tue, 2010-06-08 17:32Brendan DeMelle
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Sen. Lindsey Graham, Former Friend of Climate Legislation, Now Foe, and Acting Denier-ish

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has told reporters that he will vote against the climate bill that he helped to craft along with remaining co-sponsors Sens. John Kerry (D-MA) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT).  According to CongressDaily (sub. req’d), Graham says he doesn’t like “new changes [to the bill] that further restrict offshore oil and gas drilling and the bill’s impact on the transportation sector.”

As David Roberts at Grist writes:
“Yes, you read that right: He says he’s bailing from the bill because, in the wake of one of the greatest offshore oil drilling disasters of all time, a bill devoted to reducing climate pollution does not expand offshore oil drilling enough. Such is the Bizarro World of the U.S. Senate.”

Graham previously yanked his name off the bill out of anger surrounding Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) decision to prioritize immigration reform over climate and energy.  While some still hoped that Graham would suck it up and vote for whatever eventually became of the bill he helped create, he dashed all hopes of that happening today.

Tue, 2010-04-27 15:50Brendan DeMelle
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World Continues To Wait On Climate Action from the U.S. Senate

The U.S. Senate’s latest attempt to introduce climate legislation has been dogged with uncertainty and delay, continuing the worrisome trend of U.S. inaction to address the most critical issue facing humanity.

As word spread through Washington over the past few days that yet another attempt at a climate and energy bill appeared doomed to the legislative dustbin, the rest of the world continues to wonder if the U.S. is ever going to overcome its deadlock on climate legislation.

Wed, 2009-10-07 12:50Brendan DeMelle
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Bipartisan Report Claims Solving the Climate Crisis “Depends on Tropical Forests”

The bipartisan Commission on Climate and Tropical Forests released an extensive report today calling on the Senate to consider tropical forest preservation as a central necessity in the climate bill in front of Congress.  The group suggests that solving the climate crisis will be “nearly impossible without urgent efforts to stem tropical deforestation.”

Wed, 2009-09-23 12:40Brendan DeMelle
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ACCCE Coal Lobby Targeting Key Democrats In Senate Climate Debate

America’s Power Army, the sister organization to the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), sent an email this week to its Astroturf ‘army’ laying out the coal lobby’s plans to barrage key Democratic targets in the coming weeks to ensure that energy and climate legislation provides sufficient loopholes to maintain the Dirty Coal status quo. 

America’s Power Army, formerly known by the less-militaristic name Americans for Balanced Energy Choices until August 2008, sent its ‘Eye on Washington’ Fall 2009 update from Washington in the form of a slickly-crafted email blast, complete with personalized introduction (Dear [Insert Recipient Name Here] code) and a banner picture of clear skies with just a few wispy white clouds hovering over the Capitol. 

The Army email says:

“America’s Power Army – along with our parent organization, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) – is committed to supporting the enactment of legislation that reduces greenhouse gas emissions, protects consumers, preserves fuel diversity to promote greater energy independence; and encourages the development and deployment of advanced technologies for using coal.”


Thu, 2009-09-10 10:39Brendan DeMelle
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New Report Urges U.S. To Avoid Reliance on International Carbon Offsets

Friends of the Earth U.S. released a new report today calling the use of international carbon offsets a “dangerous distraction” that could lead to climate disaster if relied upon too heavily as the U.S. Senate returns to debate energy and climate policy later this month. 

Offsets are a centerpiece of the Waxman-Markey energy bill that passed the House of Representatives in June, and are likely to appear in the Senate version as well.

The Friends of the Earth report warns that the U.S. must avoid the use of international carbon offsets, in which U.S. industries can skip making costly investments to reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions by sending money overseas for clean energy projects in developing countries.  The theory is that these international investments will translate into equivalent reductions at the fraction of the price it would cost to change our ways here at home. 

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