Cap and Trade Accolades By the Same Folks Who Want The Death Of Good Things

This is how they think in Washington. “Bass ackwards”
CLIMATE: Letters on cap and trade pour into Senate (09/08/2009)
Darren Samuelsohn, E&E senior reporter

The Senate climate bill may be in limbo, but that has not stopped an onslaught of opinions about what the legislation should look like.

Letters, ad campaigns and even a few threats are piled up for lawmakers on the global warming issue as they return to Washington from their monthlong summer break.

Pushing for quick action, a group of 32 former senators, Cabinet officials and other U.S. leaders released a statement today linking global warming to national security and urging President Obama and Congress to produce a “clear, comprehensive, realistic and broadly bipartisan plan to address our role in the climate change crisis.”

The group includes former Sens. Howard Baker (R-Tenn.), Warren Rudman (R-N.H.), Slade Gorton (R-Wash.), John Danforth (R-Mo.), Gary Hart (D-Colo.), Nancy Kassebaum Baker (R-Kan.), Sam Nunn (D-Ga.), John Warner (R-Va.) and Tim Wirth (D-Colo.), as well as former Secretary of State George Shultz, former Defense Secretary William Perry and Thomas Kean and Christie Todd Whitman, both former New Jersey governors.

Also last week, five Democratic state attorneys general wrote Senate Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) requesting she write a bill that protects the federal government’s ability to force the cleanup or outright closure of aging coal-fired power plants.

The House-passed climate bill surrendered U.S. EPA’s ability to enforce climate change provisions in the Clean Air Act.

The state attorneys general — Jerry Brown of California, Terry Goddard of Arizona, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Joseph R. Biden III of Delaware and Anne Milgram of New Jersey — also pressed Boxer to preserve a state’s authority to set stronger standards than the federal government, as well as a citizen’s right to file an enforcement lawsuit.

From the far left, several environmental groups took a pre-emptive swing at Boxer’s efforts by launching the Climate SOS coalition in an effort to make the legislation stronger.

“Senators need to know that they have our support in opposing this bill in the likely event that it fails to take adequate measures to protect the climate,” said the group, which includes the Carbon Tax Center, Ecolaw Massachusetts, Rising Tide North America and Ruckus Society.

Climate SOS plans to lobby in states home to fence-sitting senators: Arizona, Indiana, Louisiana, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. It also said it would keep up the pressure in California, Massachusetts, Oregon, New York, Vermont and Washington.

The SOS Coalition also said it would stage “mass nonviolent civil disobedience, office occupations and protests” on Sept. 22 in San Francisco, Seattle, Boston and New York — including the district offices of Boxer and Senate Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.).

As for opponents, they turned out in force over the summer break in an effort to build public support for killing the Democrat-led climate bill.

Last week, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R) headlined a rally in Salt Lake City that questioned the economics of tackling global warming.

“Cost and benefit ought to be analyzed together,” said Herbert, according to the Salt Lake Tribune, during his opening remarks. “We hear a lot about the benefit side. We want to hear a little bit more about the cost side.”

And yesterday in Holden, W.Va., thousands attended a free Labor Day rally sponsored by the coal industry and other critics of the global warming bill.

“Today’s the day when the American worker takes back this country,” rock musician and conservative activist Ted Nugent told the crowd, according to the Charleston Gazette. “That’s what I think.”

Other speakers and performers at the event included Hank Williams Jr., FOX News political commentator Sean Hannity and Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship.

Boxer and Kerry now plan to release their draft climate bill later this month, and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) still wants to press for final passage before the end of the year. But Obama’s health care agenda now has top billing in Congress, and its fate is likely to determine how successful Democrats are on other issues.

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