Tag Archives: congress

New Direction in Congress on Climate Change Bill

air-pollutionIt is becoming increasing clear that the Democrats in Congress will not be able to get the 60 votes needed in the Senate to pass a Climate Change Bill. They need support from the other side (Republicans) to get the bill through and none is forthcoming thus far.

On October 11, 2009, Senators John Kerry (D – Mass) and Lindsey Graham (R- SC) wrote an interesting Op-Ed piece in the New York Times. In this piece, one of the paragraphs stated that : ‘We agree that climate change is real and threatens our economy and national security. That is why we are advocating aggressive reductions in our emissions of the carbon gases that cause climate change. We will minimize the impact on major emitters through a market-based system that will provide both flexibility and time for big polluters to come into compliance without hindering global competitiveness or driving more jobs overseas.’

It went on to say that nuclear power must be added to the mix of renewable energy and there should be a push to reduce the country’s dependence on foreign oil.

There is now a possibility that there will be a truly bi-partisan bill on this issue if Lindsey Graham gets onboard. Many Republican Senators will support a bill with Lindsey Graham’s name on it.

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The latest on the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) bill in Congress

air-pollutionAs many of you know, the Obama Administration is pushing for legislature in Congress that will regulate GHG. In fact, President Obama told 34 Democratic members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on May 5 that he would like to see cap-and-trade legislation before the end of this year.

One of the targets in the original proposal from the White House was to reduce GHG to 14% below 2005 emission levels by 2020. The powerful Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee Henry Waxman set the target at 20% below 2005 emission levels by 2020 in his own original draft cap-and-trade bill. This was a much more ambitious target than the White House’s. It has been reported that Waxman will be softening his target to 17% as a compromise to attract more Democrats in his committee to vote for it.

There are 59 members (36 Democrats and 23 Republicans) on Waxman’s committee. He needs 30 votes to get any legislation out of the committee. At last count, Waxman has 18 yes votes (all Democrats), 19 maybes (all Democrats plus one Republican) and 22 no votes (all Republicans). He needs to get 12 votes out of the 19 maybes to pass his legislation.

In case you are wondering who is that lone Republican in the “maybe” column. That is Mary Bono Mack – who was married to the late Sony Bono (of Sony and Cher fame).

The firm of Cantor Fitzerald has a website that does an excellent job in tracking the cap-and-trade legislation. This post is based on the report from that website.

How will the new administration and Congress impact environmental regulations

p1010417When President Obama takes office next year and the Democrat-controlled Senate and House convene, you can expect two things: A roll back of some of the new environmental rules that the Bush administration put in place and a step up on enforcement.

Congress has the power to reverse federal regulations that have become finalized during the last months of a previous administration.

Henry Waxman – a powerful Democrat congressman has just been elected chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. This is one of the most powerful committees in Congress and it has jurisdiction over the environment and EPA. Waxman’s counterpart on the Senate side is Barbara Boxer – viewed as an environmental activist by many.