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Greens to bless climate bill first, attack later

By Juliet Eilperin

When it comes to the draft climate bill that Sens. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) and Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) plan to unveil Monday, mainstream environmental groups are planning to praise first and criticize later.

In an e-mail obtained by The Washington Post, Heather Brutz -- field operations coordinator for the environmental coalition Clean Energy Works, outlined the group's media strategy in the coming days. While it will include a "national telepresser with Kerry and big state media on April 27," it notes that high-ranking greens are working on draft statement that "will initially be released for community. Afterwards will follow up with call for strengthening bill."

Those criticisms, Brutz said, include "Clean energy should be clean (no nukes, etc.)," retaining the Environmental Protection Agency's authority to regulate greenhouse gases and "deal with dirty coal plants."

One of the most interesting things about this coordinated plan, however, is that environmentalists still don't know the details of the bill. That may cause some to wait before jumping on board.

"No decisions have been made because we haven't seen the bill," said Sierra Club spokesman Josh Dorner said.

There's a clear reason for this: The senators haven't finished writing the bill, particularly the transportation section.

"The transportation sector's a problem," Graham told reporters Thursday afternoon. After coming under attack last week for a proposed linked carbon fee on transportation fuels that would raise the price of gas, Graham said, "the linked fee somehow became a gas tax, and no, we're not going to do that. We're not going to raise gas prices."

So it's back to the drawing board for the senators' staffers.

In the meantime, environmentalists such as William Snape, senior counsel for the Center for Biological Diversity, have begun to worry about what the compromise climate proposal will actually contain.

"By strenuously avoiding any enunciation of a scientific or legal bottom line in the climate bill process, the big green groups have essentially capitulated to industry and will cheer the crumbs thrown at the public's interest in truly clean energy," Snape said. "Even if Kerry-Lieberman-Graham try to argue their bill is only an important first step, it's hard to see how throwing the successful Clean Air Act under the bus is either a gradual or sensible way to reduce the most dangerous air pollutants in human history."

By

Juliet Eilperin

 |  April 22, 2010; 4:46 PM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Carbon War Room arrives | Next: EEI, three oil companies to back climate bill; top 10 highlights of Kerry proposal

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P.S.
Please look up LFTR and TWR, and familiarize yourself with what "nuclear waste" actually is.

Posted by: fordiman | April 25, 2010 12:54 PM
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"We need real climate solutions, not more nuclear, coal and oil."

Right now we, the human race, consume 15 TW of power constantly. By 2050, expect that to have doubled.

Neither solar nor wind can handle that, even if we get 100% efficiency from both, and can smooth out their wild variations with no losses. Coal and natural gas *can* handle that, but bring on the CO2 like nobody's business.

The only real climate solution *is* nuclear, and not just nuclear, but new nuclear technology. Current reactors burn up about 1% of their input mass, leaving the rest as nuclear waste. The new types in the research pipeline promise full burnup, shorter lived waste, and the ability to consume old reactors' waste streams as fuel.

Call it a bailout if you like, but regulatory costs and activist pressure have long been the highest cost of running a nuclear plant; I consider it to be the government giving back what it's taken.

Nuclear is a real climate solutions, and it is our /only/ way out of the climatological tipping point. To deny that fact is to betray ignorance about the scale of the problem.

If you can do math, please run the numbers for yourself. You'll see exactly what I mean.

Posted by: fordiman | April 25, 2010 12:49 PM
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Actually, many green groups will be blasting this from the start for what it is: a business-as-usual taxpayer bailout of giant nuclear and other energy corporations....

We need real climate solutions, not more nuclear, coal and oil.

Posted by: nirsnet | April 23, 2010 1:20 PM
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Where is the Bill? Is it the "National Energy Efficiency Enhancement Act of 2010" that they are talking about, or is it the "S. 1462, American Clean Energy Leadership Act"?

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Posted by: itkonlyyou24 | April 23, 2010 10:24 AM
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I see also that "Climate Change" has been thoroughly scrubbed from the narrative.

They really must think we are stupid. Just a moment ago they were saying we needed to reduce carbon because of Climate Change, yet now they pretend that Climate Change was never the reason for the actions they just suggested a moment ago!

Might confuse a subliterate liberal who refuses to absorb any information that might break his safety blanket, but it won't do anything for the keen eyed.

Posted by: gorak | April 22, 2010 11:47 PM
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I really am disappointed in the green groups' willingness to embrace legislation that is inherently counter-intuitive and counter-productive to achieving any real progress on addressing climate change. And, I am surprised by how little I have heard about the better alternative to cap-and-trade: cap-and-dividend! The cap-and-dividend bill in the Senate would make polluters pay and actually give money back to the American people. I wrote about it at-length in my latest post on my news and commentary site, "Writing for Survival," at www.survivalwriter.blogspot.com

Posted by: lakiesel | April 22, 2010 6:53 PM
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