Monthly Archives: May 2010

Pick your Poison or Pass a Clean Energy and Climate Bill

The Environmental Defense Action Fund is getting out their message on the need for clean energy with a new print and web ad campaign: Pick your Poison.

The message is the ad is clear: Americans have to make a choice.

We can keep polluting our oceans and financing militants and a cartel that is notoriously unfriendly to America…or we can pass a clean energy and climate bill and move toward a clean energy future.

The web version:

Posted in Climate Change Legislation, News / Comments are closed

Check out this week’s Expert Q &A on the Gulf oil spill

As part of EDF’s mission to keep the public informed of the largest challenges facing the environment, we have put together a series called Expert Q&A. The goal is to get simple answers to pressing questions from the people who know the issues inside and out, our EDF staff experts.

This week the expert Q & A focuses on the gulf oil spill and how the disaster will affect our chances of passing the recently released climate bill, the American Power Act.

The expert in question and being questioned is Steve Cochran, the director of our National Climate Campaign.

In answer to the question of whether a spill in the Gulf was inevitable, Steve responds:

“We have a saying where I grew up: If you continue to load the gun, God will provide the drunk or the fool who is going to pull the trigger. There are over 3,000 operating wells in Gulf. I know firsthand how great the pressure is to produce at all costs, even at the expense of cutting corners on safety. Sad to say, it was only a matter of time before it caught up with us.”

When asked about how to prevent further disasters, Steve explains that:

“It is going to happen again even if we never drilled another new well.

But we can do several things to protect ourselves. We can require that the emergency response infrastructure be in place – I’m talking warehouses filled with booms and equipment – so when there is another spill we can respond more quickly. It’s incredible to me that this doesn’t exist today.

Second, we can make it more expensive for oil companies to cut back on safety. We have to make sure that oil companies are held accountable, pay for the protections and pay for the clean up and the carbon pollution associated with these products.

Making the polluter pay will do more than anything else we can do to reduce the risk of exposure to these pollutants. We can mandate it, we should, we can require it, and we should. But, making them pay for it, making sure they know the dollars will come out of their pocket if they make a mistake, that’s the key.”

Steve also shares some sage words on how passing a smart climate bill focused on public safety is essential to helping us transition into a clean energy economy.

“There are two pieces to it. One, I don’t think we should have any discussion about new drilling until we have the safeguards and protections in place that give us more confidence that we won’t face what we are facing right now. Without that I don’t know how to have that conversation. It’s hard to turn on the television every day and say we know how to do this well enough. So for the short-term view we have to focus on the safety and precautions and see if we can put a system in place that gives people some confidence.

The second piece of course is the critical need to cap our carbon pollution, which will create powerful economic incentives to transition to a clean energy economy.”

Read the full Q & A here.

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An Extensive Showing of Support for the American Power Act

Today the American Power Act, the comprehensive climate and clean energy bill, was released to the public and if the broadly attended press conference and the blogosphere can be any indications, the reception has been decidedly positive.

Joining Senators Kerry and Lieberman at the press conference this afternoon were leaders from the manufacturing and utilities sectors as well as from the faith, military and environmental communities.

Duke Energy, Dow Corning, Honeywell, the Edison Electric Institute, A123 Systems, Northland Ministries, Environmental Defense Fund and National Wildlife Federation are just a few of the heavy hitters who came out to support the American Power Act.

The Environmental Defense Fund also released a statement of support for the American Power Act where President Fred Krupp explained that the Senators’ plan:

“has the support of the key stakeholders because it strikes a balance…They’re offering more domestic energy production with environmental safeguards, strong environmental goals for the climate with more flexibility, and better economic protections.”

Read what others are saying:

On E2, President Obama enthusiastically applauded the American Power Act.

“This legislation will put America on the path to a clean energy economy that will create American jobs building the solar panels, wind blades and the car batteries of the future,” Obama said.

Also on E2, Senator Nelson of Florida commends Kerry and Lieberman for their effort on the American Power Act.

“I’m glad the climate bill includes my proposal for a moratorium on any new drilling, until we know what happened aboard the Deepwater Horizon,” he said in a statement. “Also, they had their eye on expanding drilling into new areas of the Gulf of Mexico near Florida, and I told them to stay out of it. And I’m glad they listened.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada also chimes in on E2 with his support of the process.

“I applaud the efforts of Senators Kerry and Lieberman to develop a proposal that deserves careful consideration by all Senators and the public.  The recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico demonstrates the urgent need to free our nation from its heavy dependence on oil and to create new clean energy industries and technologies. All Americans would benefit from a comprehensive national energy plan that creates millions of clean energy jobs, improves our national security and reduces pollution. Already in Nevada, we have seen how critical investments in solar, geothermal and wind energy, as well as energy efficiency, creates reliable jobs that can never be outsourced and diversifies our state’s economy.

The Wonk Room provides a comprehensive break-down of the comprehensive climate bill which details how:

“The Kerry-Lieberman legislation has a 15-year transition period that supports state-level renewable and energy efficiency initiatives (which will create millions of jobs), invests in smart transportation, and rebuilds American manufacturing,much like Waxman-Markey, but with new support for nuclear energy and natural gas that reflects the interests of large blocs of senators.”

Climate Progress explains how the American Power Act will benefit Americans by creating jobs, cleaning up vehicles, cutting pollution among others.

“It is truly an “all of the above” bill that would reduce oil use, cut carbon pollution, invest in efficiency, and clean energy technologies that create jobs and protect consumers’ wallets. “

The New Republic acknowledges the bill as a compromise but still casts the America Power Act as an imperative first step forward.

“Once even a modest price on CO2 is in place, companies will start finding ways to save energy and cut emissions and find that it’s remarkably cheap and easy to do so.”

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Leading Environmental Groups Show Their Support for Comprehensive Climate and Clean Energy Policy

Today 22 leading environmental groups released the following statement in support of moving forward on comprehensive clean energy and climate policy. The groups are urging both congress and the President to lead our nation into a clean energy future.

“Today’s action by Senators John Kerry (Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (Conn.) jumpstarts the Senate debate over America’s energy future.  Their unwavering leadership has been critical to the progress made thus far.   It is time for America’s leaders to get serious about a comprehensive clean energy and climate policy that will reduce our oil dependence, enhance our security, revitalize our economy and protect our environment.

Every day the Senate fails to pass comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation we put our economy, our national security and our environment at greater risk.  Americans overwhelmingly support action on clean energy and climate. Inaction is too costly, and the challenge is too urgent.  The Gulf Coast oil catastrophe is yet another reminder that the United States must reduce its dependence on oil to protect our security, economy and environment.

The millions of Americans we represent demand a Senate vote on comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation.  President Obama and leaders of both parties in Congress must provide the leadership necessary to develop a clean energy and climate solution that becomes law this year.”

Alliance for Climate Protection


Center for American Progress Action Fund


Climate Solutions

Defenders of Wildlife

ENE (Environment Northeast)

Environment America

Environmental Defense Fund

Environmental Law and Policy Center

Fresh Energy

Green For All

League of Conservation Voters

National Tribal Environmental Council

National Wildlife Federation

Natural Resources Defense Council

Oxfam America

Sierra Club

Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

The Wilderness Society

Union of Concerned Scientists

World Wildlife Fund

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Yesterday’s blog highlights

Grist breaks down the current climate bill situation and is even cautiously optimistic about Kerry and Lieberman’s abilities to attract some Republican support.

“There are, however, some Republicans who are expected to vote for the bill if it goes to the floor.”

An editorial in the L.A. Times that makes the case for climate legislation is lauded on Climate Progress. The editorial concludes with this poignant message:

“Lawmakers today aren’t seeing the forest for the trees; that will change when the forest has burned or been destroyed by bark beetles, but by then it will be too late.”

E2 explains how the new climate bill will contain a “compromise on offshore drilling” though still maintains targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent by 2020.

Treehugger goes over the offshore oil drilling veto provision in the Kerry-Lieberman climate bill set to be released to the public today. The full details are forthcoming but so far we do know that:

  • It requires an Interior Department study to determine which states could be economically and environmentally affected by a spill.
  • Those affected states would then be able to veto drilling by passing a law.
  • Those states that are able to go ahead with drilling will retain 37 percent of the federal revenue generated by that activity.
  • Any state will be allowed to opt out of drilling that would occur in waters within 75 miles of its shore.”
Posted in Climate Change Legislation, News / Read 1 Response

Yesterday’s blog highlights

Grist walks us through the new CBO analysis “How Policies to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions Could Affect Employment” and explains how the analysis falls short “in capturing the upside potential” of a smart climate and energy policy.

Climate Progress has Senators Kerry and Lieberman’s joint statement on the release of the climate bill this Wednesday. In the statement they say:

“Our optimism is bolstered because there is a growing and unprecedented bi-partisan coalition from the business, national security, faith and environmental communities that supports our legislation and is energized to work hard and get it passed.”

On The New York Times Room for Debate blog, key thought leaders and journalists covering climate debate whether the climate bill actually has a chance at passage this year. There is a fair amount of optimism in the crowd.

“Environmental disasters have historically served as the inspiration for landmark legislation.” Kate Shepard of Mother

I am optimistic about decarbonization. Despite conventional wisdom to the contrary, reducing emissions will be relatively fast and inexpensive. There are huge opportunities for low-cost (or negative-cost) emission reductions just waiting to be exploited.” David Roberts of

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