Senate Climate Bill Pre-Game Report: It's Getting Ugly Out There . . .


Photo via Public Citizen Energy

Okay, it needs to be said--it's getting ugly out there. Pundits, experts, senators, and interest groups are making their predictions, dispensing their advice, and issuing their warnings as the lead up to the release of the Kerry-Graham-Lieberman energy reform bill continues. Much of it, of course, is conflicting--truly liberal environmentalists are feeling left out, most GOPers won't support it no matter what, and Energy Secretary Chu says we should simply pass something. So what the hell is really going on? Who would actually support the thing, and who wouldn't? First things first. The most important thing you will read about the bill today is this: it hasn't been revealed yet. So keep that in mind as the bleating from politicians and lobbying groups carry on--we simply don't know what exactly is in the bill, and depending on what is, said politicians and lobbyists may realign their allegiances accordingly. That said, we do have a relatively solid idea of what's going to be in K-G-L, or Keggles, for the most part, and it is worth taking stock of the lay of the land.

So here goes.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) has recently spoken out lamenting the fact that the nation's true environmentalists are getting left out of the process to craft what could (and should) be the most important piece of environmental legislation in decades. He's concerned that there will be too many giveaways to polluting industries, and that the bill will hardly be a step forward.

10 Democratic senators say they won't support the bill if it contains too great an expansion of offshore drilling.

The Sierra Club, perhaps the nation's most important environmental organization, has just installed new leadership in Michael Brune--and he's prepared to oppose a climate bill that would strip the EPA's ability to regulate greenhouse gases.

Stephen Chu, the Secretary of Energy in the Obama Administration, says that we need to pass some sort of bill, to get the process started. He implores senators (likely with the more liberal and environmentally inclined ones in mind) not to "wait for the perfect bill."
Joe Lieberman (I-CT), one of the prime architects of the bill, echoes Chu's line--he acknowledges that the bill won't make anyone 100% happy, but that the votes will come if it's viewed as an improvement over the status quo, which he feels confident is the case.

And then of course there's the entire Republican caucus--which is 99.9% likely to adopt a united stance against the bill. Sen. Tom Udall says there may be as many as 4 or 5 votes currently among the GOP in support of the bill, which would be just about miraculous if things actually shook down that way in the end.

Whew. So there you have it--that's the pre-game buzz around K-G-L. Now the only thing we can do is wait . . .

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