Highlight of the Week: Senate Bill in the Works Amidst Clean Air Attacks
On Tuesday, the Obama administration signaled a fresh commitment to moving a climate bill this year, bringing together a bipartisan group of 14 key Senators and top cabinet officials for a White House meeting.
"He wants us to move, figure out where we can come together and do as comprehensive bill as we can," said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio).
In opening remarks, according to Senators in attendance, President Obama took the idea of an energy-only bill, the preferred approach of moderate Democrats, off the table. He said he wanted a "comprehensive" bill that includes a cap on greenhouse gas emissions.
"He wants to do it this year, that's for sure," said Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.)
The meeting was called as Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Lieberman, and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) work toward the release of a climate and energy bill capable of garnering broad support in the Senate. The Kerry/Graham/Lieberman framework will seek to limit the carbon pollution that drives global warming while further developing domestic clean energy production. Sens. Kerry and Graham first publicly signaled their intention to craft a bipartisan-eventually 'tripartisan'–climate and energy bill in a joint New York Times editorial.
Meanwhile interest groups and Dirty Air Act advocates are already trying to undo their progress. Big business groups and others recently filed 16 lawsuits challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's authority to reduce carbon pollution that contributes to global warming, following in the footsteps of Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and other lawmakers in their attempts to undermine the basis for climate action.
"Just as there are bridges to nowhere, there is legislation to nowhere," said Adam Kolton, the National Wildlife Federation's senior director for Congressional and federal affairs, of the Dirty Air Act.