Senate Energy Bill: “The First Step”

from Wildlife Promise

Yesterday began with the environmental community’s less than favorite Senator, Jim “Hoax” Inhofe, proposing an amendment to require oil companies to build more refineries. (Nothing quite like requiring more oil infrastructure to keep us, entrenched in an oil economy). The amendment failed 52-43 on nearly exact party lines–Senators Snowe and Collins from Maine were the only Senators to break party lines by voting with Democrats against the amendment (Sens. Hagel, Coburn, Johnson and McCain didn’t vote, view in HTML and click here for vote chart).

Today, renewable energy is the topic for debate and (possibly) voting. NWF supports Sen. Bingaman’s proposal to require 15% of our energy to come from renewable sources by 2020, and opposes Sen. Domenici’s conflicting amendment to allow states to opt out of the 15% requirement – thus not actually making it a “requirement” at all. It’s still unclear how the voting will play out since both sides are threatening filibuster, both votes may need 60 to pass, but they may drop the filibuster and need only 50. Either way it looks like we could be getting votes on this major global warming amendment today!

Coming up after the RES votes, will be Sen. Klobuchar’s amendment to create a national carbon registry, which would make all industries report their carbon pollution. The amendment has three Republican co-sponsors (Sens. Collins, Snowe, and Coleman), but is facing the ire of Republican leadership as the start of a Senate movement to a comprehensive cap-and-trade bill.

“I think it’s going to be assumed by too many to be the first step,” [Sen] Domenici [R-NM] said in an interview. “We’re not ready to take that step.” (E&E Daily, 6/14/07)

Profound words, Sen. Domenici. Isn’t that what Neil Armstrong said? Oh wait…he had courage. He wanted progress. He took the step. Come on, Sen. Domenici, if you’re standing still, you’re falling behind–and the rest of the world is looking back at us.

I’ll let you know how the vote turns out as soon as I do!