The Push for Federal Climate and Energy Legislation This Summer
submitted by David Newton
At this writing, we anticipate the U.S. Senate will consider climate-energy legislation this summer. Given progressives no longer have a 60 vote majority, plus the potential for defection by those whose states mine and/or burn significant amounts of coal, the passage of a totally comprehensive bill will be very difficult.
However, the Sierra Club is urging the passage of a comprehensive measure. In a letter dated July 2 to President Obama, Executive Director Michael Brune urged support for a bill that includes the following:
"We [in the Sierra Club] remain strongly supportive of comprehensive climate and energy legislation. We will be measuring success on the results that the bill can achieve. Specifically, it must reduce oil dependence substantially, create clean energy jobs, and reduce global warming pollution. In particular, the Sierra Club believes a package must make significant progress to reduce oil consumption and address the root causes of the BP oil disaster. Similarly, a bill should include a strong Renewable Electricity Standard, and investments in clean energy and efficiency that will create jobs and spur economic growth, as well as measures to significantly reduce global warming pollution. A comprehensive package must also not result in give-aways to dirty energy companies.
"Just as your direct leadership was critical in the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and health care reform, so too is your hand necessary to produce and pass a bill for our clean energy future. America's prosperity, the health and safety of our communities, the ability to meet our international commitments, and our national security rest on the action you choose to take in the days ahead."
In order to enact a bill with provisions requested by Executive Director Brune, Sierra Club members and friends must be involved to the maximum extent possible. Given the current mood of many voters and their elected representatives, victory will be more likely if we stress the importance of job creation and human health. In doing this, we should enlist the support of everyone we know. One way to remain informed and involved is to sign up for The Hotline of the National Sierra Club at http://action.sierraclub.org/site/PageServer?pagename=Signup_Hotline.