“Deep disappointment”, is the emotion invoked by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in a letter to Senator John Kerry (D-MA) on the current direction of climate legislation under the tutelage of Kerry, Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn). Read the full list of disappointments.
Unfortunately the current direction of the proposal -gutting the Clean Air Act, opening up the outer continental shelf to oil drilling and federal backing of loans for new nuclear reactors – reflects the level of inclusion afforded industry recommendations. And while Sanders does not call Kerry out for the obvious industry driven provisions, his letter still serves as a rebuttal to the consequence of closed door meeting with the likes of American Petroleum Institute and Chamber of Commerce.
In fact, the trio have been so preoccupied with creating “a bonanza” for polluters that they forgot to properly establish a frame for ramping-up energy efficiency and investing in sustainable energy. Read Sanders’ list of recommendations to promote a clean energy economy.
The Senator from Vermont does justice to those that believe the cornerstone of climate legislation should be investment in renewable energy, strong efficiency measures and training programs that prepare our workers for careers in the new energy economy. He also alerts us to our challenge – Kerry, Lieberman and Graham peddling another proposal to further our dependency on dirty energy – where by the environment and its residents pay and the polluters profit . The draft bill is expected to be released next month.
So, let’s plan to clean house in April. We need to ramp up our pressure on the Senate to: protect the Clean Air Act; reject increased subsidies for coal and nuclear; stop preemption of states with aggressive climate policies; and oppose offshore drilling.
But before we set out to scrub this dirty proposal, please, take a moment to drop Senator Sanders a thank you note for being a true champion for transformative climate change.
Allison Fisher is the Energy Organizer for Public Citizen
Flickr photo by alancleaver