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America speaking out. Ever hear of it questionaire

Discussion in 'Politics, Elections & Legislation' started by Barrelbulge(Fl), Jul 22, 2010.

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  1. Barrelbulge(Fl)

    Barrelbulge(Fl) TS Supporters TS Supporters

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    Click above it's interesting. Bulge.
     
  2. stokinpls

    stokinpls Well-Known Member

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    Must be an election year. Anything to pull the wool I guess.

    "Senate Democrats abandon comprehensive climate bill

    By Perry Bacon Jr.
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Thursday, July 22, 2010; 6:38 PM

    Conceding they can't find enough votes for the measure, Senate Democrats on Thursday abandoned efforts to put together a comprehensive energy bill that would seek to limit greenhouse gas emissions, delivering a potentially fatal blow to a proposal Democrats have long touted and President Obama campaigned on.

    Instead, Democrats will push for a more limited bill that would seek to increase liability costs that oil companies would pay following spills such as the one in the Gulf of Mexico and would create additional incentives for the development of natural gas vehicles and provide rebates to people who buy products that reduce home energy use. They did not release details of the proposal, but Senate Democrats said they expected to find GOP support and pass it in the next two weeks.

    Democrats have not ruled out pushing for a more comprehensive bill when Congress returns from its August recess or in the session after the November elections, although it's not clear that any of the Democrats or Republicans who now oppose a more expansive measure would change their votes. Republicans have long argued the bill, by seeking to limit emissions, would lead to higher energy costs for American consumers, a view some conservative Democrats have also taken.

    The decision to abandon the proposal was another concession to the difficult political environment Democratic leaders face, as many rank-and-file congressional Democrats are wary of casting any vote that could be used in political attacks by Republicans.

    Democrats who advocated the broader measure didn't hide their disappointment in falling short. Carol Browner, who heads the White House's Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy, said, "Obviously everyone is disappointed," while Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), the primary author of the comprehensive bill, said the legislation Democrats will take up next week is "admittedly narrow."

    "We know where we are. We know we don't have the votes," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) .

    Reid blamed the GOP for blocking the bill, noting that no Republicans in the Senate had said they would back the bill. Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), who had helped write the comprehensive measure with Sens. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Kerry, announced in June that he would no longer back the measure, arguing Congress should pursue smaller, more targeted legislation.

    But in truth, despite weeks of meetings to reach a compromise, Democrats themselves were deeply divided on the legislation. Republicans took obvious delight in the Democratic dispute: Robert Dillon, GOP communications director for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, wrote in an e-mail, "Reid can hardly blame Republicans for opposing legislation that would raise energy prices on Americans, when his own party doesn't even support the idea."

    Efforts to put together a major bill to limit carbon emissions and encourage the use of alternative energy sources had long been considered doomed in the Senate, even though the House approved a bill in June 2009 that would set a limit on overall emissions of greenhouse gases while allowing utilities and other emitters to trade pollution permits.

    A group of Democrats whose states produce coal, such as Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.) thought the bill could lead to increased energy costs in their states, while others worried about pushing such a controversial political issue after Democrats had already passed the stimulus and health-care bills.

    But following the gulf oil spill, Obama sought to push the public and Congress to back comprehensive approach, making the case that the accident illustrated the importance of the U.S. reducing its dependence on oil. In a speech last month in Pittsburgh, he said, "the votes may not be there right now, but I intend to find them in the coming months."

    But in the weeks after the spill, Kerry, who had months ago stopped pushing the so-called cap-and-trade measure the House had passed, failed to win backing among his colleagues for a pared-back proposal that would limit greenhouse gas emissions by electric utilities.

    Kerry said Obama had pledged to stay involved and keep working for a broader bill. But the longtime senator's remarks hinted at the challenge: He said its passage would not take nearly as long as it took his late colleague Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) to get comprehensive health care bill through Congress.

    The decision by Democrats means that two major issues they had pledged to take on this year, energy reform and immigration, could remain unresolved before the midterm elections.

    James Rogers, chief executive of Duke Energy and a supporter of a cap-and-trade system, warned that without a climate or energy bill that puts a price on carbon, big utilities like his won't invest in nuclear power or carbon capture and storage technology for coal fired power plants. The result, he said, would be a heavy reliance on natural gas-fired plants and rising gas prices. He predicted a crunch for electricity supplies by 2020 because of what he called a "valley of death" for coal plants because of regulatory fears and the expiration of many nuclear plant licenses in coming years.

    "If this gets punted to 2011, I worry that it ends up not happening until 2013 or later," said Rogers, who was in town this week lobbying for a carbon pricing scheme.

    Ironically, Chinese officials announced Thursday that they would enact domestic carbon trading programs during the five-year plan period starting next year to help meet their target of reducing the nation's carbon output relative to gross domestic product by 2020.

    Joshua Freed, who directs the clean energy program for the centrist think tank Third Way, said the contrast shows the challenge Democratic leaders face when trying to marshal support for climate measures within Congress.

    "China doesn't have these problems," Freed said. "It should be a wake-up call that the same day Republican opposition kills a carbon price in the Senate, China announces it will put a price on carbon in 2011."

    But Michael Shellenberger, president of the Breakthrough Institute think tank, said it was the price gap between fossil fuels and renewable energy, not politics, that has doomed climate legislation. "Until clean energy becomes a lot cheaper, and easier to scale, no nation is going to significantly reduce its emissions significantly," he wrote in an e-mail."
     
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