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ENVIROS CRAFT POLITICAL SUICIDE PACT FOR U.S. DEMSOCRATS ON CLIMATE CHANGE

Note: Any politically sentient being should understand that if the strategy suggested below prevails, Democrats will have given Republicans a sword through which it will be even more possible for Republicans to capture Congress. Such a strategy, as suggested below, would allow Republicans to attack Democrats through the rest of the year and certainly into the elections saying that Democrats are plotting to pass cap and trade in a lame duck Congress. While, in truth, there are not and will not be the votes to do that, it will unecessarily provide Republicans with such powerful ammo, that Republican pollsters will likely consider sending the Democratic leaders, and their politcally inept environmental group enablers, a big thank you card after the elections. One can only hope that sanity will prevail.

Environmentalists are pressing Biden and President Barack Obama to amp up their whip operations to give the legislation a chance of passing Congress this year. But one source from a major advocacy group said Wednesday that another option is for the Senate to pass a pared back energy measure now and then go to conference during a lame-duck session with the House-passed climate bill that includes greenhouse gas limits across multiple sectors of the economy. At that point, the source said, anything is possible.

Leaders from the Environmental Defense Fund, Sierra Club and Natural Resources Defense Council are scheduled to meet later Wednesday to map out strategy with Reid, Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Caucus Vice-Chairman Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

POLITICO

Dems divided on energy bill
By: Darren Samuelsohn and Coral Davenport
July 21, 2010

Senate Democrats are increasingly divided over whether to move forward on any energy and climate bill in the coming weeks.

On one side are those who say it’s too late to move even a modest energy measure, and are urging colleagues to abandon their efforts and bring up a small package of offshore drilling reforms next week before heading home.

On the other are ardent liberals, who are mounting a last-ditch campaign to push through an ambitious climate bill with a cap on greenhouse gas emissions.

For months, many moderates in the caucus have said that trying to move a climate bill that caps carbon was a bridge too far for this Congress, and they have urged dropping the cap in favor of a modest “energy-only” bill that ramps up renewable energy.

But at a caucus meeting of Senate Democrats on Tuesday, the prevailing feeling was that even that measure doesn’t stand a chance, say people familiar with the meeting. “The meeting mood wasn’t exactly excited about the prospect of doing climate and energy next week,” said one source familiar with it, who also said “not to expect anything but a spill bill.”

West Virginia Democrat Jay Rockefeller said the reason for the mood is a growing expectation that Republicans will block any legislation that’s brought up. “We didn’t discuss [energy and climate] at all at the chairman’s meeting. And that should stun you,” Rockefeller told POLITICO on Wednesday. “We’re trying to figure out, can we do anything? Can we pass anything? Because their idea is they’re going to stop all legislation.”

But advocates of passing a climate bill aren’t backing down – particularly the leading champion for the legislation, Massachusetts Democrat John Kerry, who told POLITICO on Wednesday that he will keep plugging away so long as Congress is in session.

“No, it’s not dead because we’re going to have a lame-duck session and we have weeks ahead of us,” Kerry said. “And the issue is not going away as I’ve said 100,000 times. So it’s not dead at all.”

Kerry got fresh backing Wednesday afternoon from a cohort of twelve liberal Democrats, who wrote to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid demanding that any energy and climate legislation to be considered in the coming weeks include a cap on carbon emissions.

“ The single most important action we can take to reform our energy policy and make the United States a leader in the global clean energy economy is to make polluters pay for the pollution they emit,” the letter said. “President Obama has consistently called for establishing a price on carbon as part of any comprehensive clean energy legislation Congress passes.”

Democrats are expected to caucus again on Thursday to determine a path forward on a bill, which Reid hopes to bring to the floor next Monday. Democratic leadership aides said Wednesday that there may be a White House presence at Thursday’s meeting.

Kerry and his partner, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), expressed concern Tuesday about the bill’s prospects of reaching the floor before the August recess as electric utility companies press for more time to negotiate complicated provisions of a bill that places limits on their emissions before any other major industrial sector.
Reid had been aiming to release the energy and climate legislation ahead of a floor debate next week, but that schedule appears to be in jeopardy now because of difficulty in finding 60 votes on the carbon pricing piece and the utility industry’s pleadings for more time.

Still, Kerry on Wednesday said he wasn’t ready to rule out action next week. “I don’t even think that is out of the question,” he said. “We have to see where we are on utilities and we have to see where Harry wants to land.”

“Obviously, the clock is pressing on it,” Kerry added.

Kerry met Wednesday morning for breakfast with Vice President Joe Biden where the energy and climate issue came up only “marginally,” Kerry said. Instead, the meeting was mostly about foreign policy.

Environmentalists are pressing Biden and President Barack Obama to amp up their whip operations to give the legislation a chance of passing Congress this year. But one source from a major advocacy group said Wednesday that another option is for the Senate to pass a pared back energy measure now and then go to conference during a lame-duck session with the House-passed climate bill that includes greenhouse gas limits across multiple sectors of the economy. At that point, the source said, anything is possible.

Leaders from the Environmental Defense Fund, Sierra Club and Natural Resources Defense Council are scheduled to meet later Wednesday to map out strategy with Reid, Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Caucus Vice-Chairman Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

Kerry and Lieberman said they will continue to work with the electric utility industry after meeting with several top CEOs on Tuesday. The power plant executives also met Tuesday with White House energy and climate adviser Carol Browner.

For now, prospects for the electric utility provisions remain uncertain in the Senate as both moderate Democrats and Republicans say they’re skeptical an agreement can be reached any time soon.

“There is a way in which you could build consensus,” Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) said on Tuesday. “But whether that can be part of any base energy bill really is highly questionable, I’d expect, because it’d be hard to build consensus on that particular question.”

Snowe said Democrats should consider offering the power plant-first proposal as an amendment to an energy bill, rather than place it in the underlying legislation. But Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio), who will unveil a bill later Wednesday to promote nuclear power, said there is no shot of a climate bill with carbon limits passing this year.

“This is going through the motions to satisfy your conference,” he said on Tuesday. “Anybody that’s being intellectually honest has got to say there’s no time to get anything done on climate.”

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0710/40018.html