Photo via Reuters
Get ready to git your wonk on. The long, long, long-awaited senate clean energy reform bill crafted by the bi (or tri) partisan team of John Kerry (D-MA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) will be unveiled on April 26th. But wait, you say, I thought it was coming out on Earth Day, April 22nd--why has it been bumped back?
I've already done a quick rundown of the details leaked in K-G-L thus far, which remain unconfirmed. The biggest news is certainly that there won't be an economy-wide cap proposed on greenhouse gas emissions, and that instead, there will be separate measures intended to tackle emissions in different sectors. Which will probably mean a cap specifically for the energy industry, (eventually) a cap for manufacturing, and a gas tax hike to curb auto emissions.
There's other stuff, of course, but it'd probably be best to wait and see what's confirmed to be in the bill before nit-picking over speculative details. But there is something else that I thought was pretty notable about the bill's rollout: it's been moved from Earth Day. And not just because the senators needed more time, but because they actively want to distance it from an exclusive environmental theme.
Graham explained why the bill would not be released on Earth Day, April 22. "One, we're not ready," he said. Second, he said, the message "had been driven by global warming policy" but is now domestic energy policy, job creation and cleaner air. "We don't want to mix messages here. I'm all for protecting the Earth but this is about energy independence," he said.Which is probably a good idea. Lord knows that in a sane world, the majority of people and statesmen would be pretty excited about a movement to avert incoming global catastrophe. But we don't quite live in that world--we live in a world where politicians in some of the highest elected offices openly mock science; one where millions of people think global warming is a hoax. And remember, there are plenty of people who think environmentalists are still crazy radical hippies, only now they also think they're socialists. Sigh.
That said, the aim of achieving energy independence is certain to connect to a wider swath of voters, and should be a more effective message if smartly implemented.