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Senate Democrats press for climate bill

By Juliet Eilperin

Global warming activists got two pieces of good news Monday: a group of Democratic senators indicated they still want a climate bill, and a major investment firm announced it's abandoning a coal plant project in favor of building a nuclear gas and solar facility.

Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), along with 21 other Democratic senators, sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) insisting that they want the chamber to pass an energy and climate bill this year "with a renewed focus on jobs and reduced dependence on foreign oil."

The list of signatories includes not only progressive Democrats such as Al Franken (Minn.) but some from industrial states, like Sherrod Brown (Ohio) and Debbie Stabenow( Mich.), along with centrists such Mark Begich (Alaska) and Mark Warner (Va.).

In an unrelated development, the Blackstone Group announced Monday afternoon that its subsidiary Sithe Global Energy is scratching plans to build a 750-megawatt coal-burning power plant near Mesquite, Nev., and will instead construct a 700-megawatt natural-gas plant with a 100-megawatt photovoltaic solar plant.

Charles Benjamin, the state director of Western Resource Advocates, hailed the decision, saying, "With its vast wind, solar and geothermal resources and potential for meeting demand with energy efficiency programs, the decision to move away from coal really does bode well for Nevada."

And while it remains unclear whether Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) and Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) will be able to produce a compromised climate bill that has enough support to pass the Senate, outside groups are still doing their best to lobby them: A coalition of forestry and forest product associations joined with environmental groups in sending the three senators a letter calling for public and private incentives for farms and domestic and tropical forests as part of any comprehensive climate and energy bill.


Juliet Eilperin

 |  March 22, 2010; 6:07 PM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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CORRECTION: I'm guessing that "nuclear" in the first paragraph should be "natural".

Posted by: benindc | March 23, 2010 10:04 AM
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Juliet Eilperin wrote:

"abandoning a coal plant project in favor of building a NUCLEAR gas and solar facility."

That sounds like a scary facility to me.
I'm assuming NUCLEAR should be replaced with NATURAL.

Posted by: benindc | March 23, 2010 9:38 AM
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The pirouette has begun. Those who could never say anything about he climate without prophesying doom and who had that burning urge to inject CO2 and greenhouse gases into every conversation are now shifting to jobs and reduced dependence on foreign oil. Watching the dance is going to be fun. They have been worshiping at the church of AGW and CO2 for years now, and they are slowly realizing that there may be defects in the church's dogma.

If only we can all slowly shift the conversation to reducing dependence on foreign oil and making more jobs in our economy, maybe everyone will forget who the preachers were and what they preached about.

We still have to call it a 'climate bill' because there are still lots of true believers, but we can try to associate our selves with something, anything, that avoids the need to talk about CO2, GHG, polar ice melting, etc. Version two or three of the bill will be all about independence from foreign oil and might not even mention the climate or warming or CO2.

None of the people mentioned in this article want to be associated with those awful deniers and skeptics, but some of them are figuring out that there are problems deep in the core of Al Gore's church and his inconvenient statements that may not be exactly truths.

Since most of the jobs associated with windmills go to China and other foreign countries anyway, we can use that as a reason to stop investing in windmills. Of course the reason won't be that the windmill technology and economics never made any sense in the first place because we were going to use windmills to replace that awful use of fuels that produce CO2.

Watch this space for research into how to burn coal more cleanly. The major exhaust produced by burning coal, which has a really high percentage of carbon, is CO2. Since coal is the only really practical fuel for producing electricity in the next few years all over the world, and since the US has lots of coal, people doing the pirouette will have to find a way to change costumes slowly so that the voters will forget their earlier service in the church of AGW and GHG.

Posted by: AGWsceptic99 | March 22, 2010 11:51 PM
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