Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Groups React To K-G-L Climate-Energy Bill Setback

Apr 27: Following the abrupt announcement by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) that he would be "unable to move forward on energy independence legislation at this time," [See WIMS 4/26/10] a number of groups and organizations have expressed their opinions on the latest developments. After months in the development, Senator Graham made his announcement just two days before Senators John Kerry (D-MA), Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Graham were scheduled to reveal their tripartisan American Power Act (K-G-L). Graham said he was upset that the Senate and Administration might make immigration reform a priority over energy and climate legislation. 

    On April 26, major environmental organizations including: Alliance for Climate Protection; Blue Green Alliance; Environment America; Environmental Defense Fund; League of Conservation Voters; National Wildlife Federation; Natural Resources Defense Council; Sierra Club; and Union of Concerned Scientists issued a brief joint statement. The groups said, "Everyday the Senate fails to pass clean energy and climate legislation we put our economy, our national security and our environment at greater risk. Americans are demanding the millions of jobs, energy independence, and clean air and water comprehensive legislation can deliver. Inaction is too costly, and the challenge is too urgent. The tireless work of Senators Kerry, Graham and Lieberman is proof positive that bipartisan success is well within reach. The House has passed historic legislation; now it is time for the Senate and the White House to stay focused and finish the job. The moment is ours. Now is the time for our leaders to act."

    Subsequently, on April 27 an expanded group of 31 organizations issued a joint letter to the U.S. Senate. The groups included: 1Sky, Alliance for Climate Protection, American Rivers, Blue Green Alliance, Center for American Progress Action Fund, Center for International Environmental Law, Clean Water Action, Climate Solutions, Conservation Law Foundation, Defenders of Wildlife, Environment America, Environmental Defense Fund, Environmental Law & Policy Center, Green For All, Interfaith Power and Light, Izaak Walton League of America, League of Conservation Voters, National Audubon Society, National Tribal Environmental Council, National Wildlife Federation, Native American Rights Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council, Ocean Conservancy, Oceana, Pew Environment Group, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, Sierra Club, The Trust for Public Land, The Wilderness Society, Union of Concerned Scientists, World Wildlife Fund.

    In their letter the groups said, "Special interests have fought energy reform for decades. They've kept America dependent on foreign oil and protected corporations that pollute the air our children breathe and the water they drink. It is long past time to end our reliance on old technology and dirty energy sources and put America back in control of its energy future. Every day that goes by without a comprehensive clean energy and climate policy helps our enemies, hurts our economy and puts our security at risk.

    "Without a bipartisan, comprehensive national clean energy and climate policy, America's businesses are hamstrung and cannot make the investments that will create millions of jobs in the new clean energy sector. Without a comprehensive policy, we cannot achieve the reductions in carbon pollution that are necessary to protect the planet. Without a comprehensive policy, we cannot end the practice of exporting $1 billion a day for foreign oil and will remain at the whim of hostile regimes.

    "The United States Senate stands at a moment in history in which decisions made today will have a lasting impact on generations of Americans to come. The Senate faces a choice between leading America forward in a new clean energy economy or holding America back by preserving the failed energy policies of the past. The Senate has a profound responsibility to future generations to enact policies that enhance our economic, environmental and national security. Now is the time to pass a strong comprehensive clean energy and climate bill. It is up to you to ensure that it happens this year."

    The American Businesses for Clean Energy (ABCE), an organization representing 3,000 businesses that support the passage of clean energy and climate legislation, issued a statement on the delay in the introduction of K-G-L energy legislation and said, "The American Businesses for Clean Energy (ABCE) strongly urge the U.S. Senate to continue its efforts to move forward with a comprehensive climate and energy bill as soon as possible. American businesses, large and small, are urging Congress to act in order to make the United States a world leader in clean energy technology, reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources, and create millions of new jobs. Senators Kerry, Graham, and Lieberman have been working diligently to craft a bill that will have bipartisan support. This is a critical moment in the legislative debate. Now, is the time for Senate leadership and its members to act."

    Access the joint release from environmental organizations (click here). Access the release-letter from 31 groups (click here). Access a release from ABCE (click here).