Byrd's Late Coal Conversion
June 29, 2010
I didn't get a chance to mention this yesterday, but Robert Byrd's death definitely jumbles the political landscape for climate/energy legislation—though maybe not in the way most people would assume. For a long time, Byrd had been a staunch coal guy (it's West Virginia, after all) who was firmly opposed to doing anything about global warming.
Cap And Trade And Systemic Failure
June 28, 2010
Politico details the Republican turn against cap and trade: Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), under pressure back home from a conservative primary challenger, hasn’t come anywhere close to the climate issue that was once a key component of his “maverick” credentials. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who joined Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) on cap-and-trade legislation in 2008, challenged the Obama administration earlier this month by forcing a floor vote that would have removed EPA’s authority to write its own carbon rules. Sen.
EPA Can Still Regulate CO2 (For Now)
June 10, 2010
So it looks like Lisa Murkowski's resolution to block the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases got shot down. The final vote was 47 to 53, with every Republican and six Dems voting in favor, including Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu, Blanche Lincoln, Evan Bayh, Mark Pryor, and Jay Rockefeller. The line from most of these folks is that they want Congress, rather than the EPA, to take the lead on global warming. Trouble is, many of them won't vote for a climate bill, either.
Murkowski's Showdown With The EPA
June 10, 2010
The Hill's Alex Bolton has a good preview of the Senate vote today on Lisa Murkowski's EPA resolution. This resolution, recall, would overturn the EPA's finding that greenhouse gases threaten public health and welfare. Not only would that stop the agency from cracking down on new coal plants and other greenhouse-gas emitters, but it would also scrap the new fuel-economy standards for cars and light trucks that the Obama administration recently put in place.
An Energy Bill's Coming In July. But What Kind?
June 07, 2010
Last Friday, Harry Reid sent a letter to various Senate committee chairmen telling them he wanted to get an energy bill rolling in July. BP's poisoning of the Gulf has apparently made energy reform look a lot more palatable than it did a few months ago. But Reid's letter was blurry on the details: He never said whether he wanted legislation that capped carbon emissions. An "energy bill," after all, could mean anything from the big Kerry-Lieberman climate bill to a scaled-down bill that just cracked down on oil companies and maybe added some funds for alternative energy sources.
Beauty Queen Update
May 17, 2010
Never saw this one coming: Donald Trump's Miss USA pageant is looking into a stripper pole scandal that has engulfed newly crowned winner Rima Fakih on Day One of her reign. Radio host Mojo from Detroit's Mojo In The Morning told RadarOnline.com that a pageant spokesperson called their station "asking for the pictures and wanting to know more details." I think her Senate candidacy is now inevitable. Meanwhile, Marin Cogan explained the right wing-beauty queen connection last year: That derision was probably one reason why conservatives rallied around Prejean, crowning her a modern day Queen E
Why Is Obama Opening Up New Areas For Offshore Drilling?
March 31, 2010
The big news today is that Obama's reportedly planning to open up a bunch of new offshore areas to oil and gas exploration for the first time: Under the plan, the coastline from New Jersey northward would remain closed to all oil and gas activity. So would the Pacific Coast, from Mexico to the Canadian border. The environmentally sensitive Bristol Bay in southwestern Alaska would be protected and no drilling would be allowed under the plan, officials said.
Labor And Obama
March 25, 2010
A few weeks ago, John Judis wrote an excellent piece about how Republicans reversed earlier support and decided to block Craig Becker, President Obama's appointment to the National Labor Relations Board: When the nominations came before the committee last October, Enzi and Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski joined Democrats to send the slate to the Senate floor by a vote of 15-8.
Byrd Says No To EPA Freeze. Wait, *That* Robert Byrd?
March 05, 2010
West Virginia is a heavy coal state. So it's not a shock to see one of its senators, Jay Rockefeller, introducing a bill that would freeze EPA regulations over greenhouse gases for a few years, since those rules could well make it impossible to build new dirty coal plants anywhere in the country.
Labor and Delivery
March 03, 2010
In a few weeks, Barack Obama will have a chance to do something he hasn’t done particularly well during his first year in office: successfully defy his opponents and, at the same time, reassure his most loyal supporters. At issue is the fate of Craig Becker, one of Obama’s nominees for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Last month, Becker was denied a vote on his nomination when Senate Democrats failed to overcome a GOP filibuster. Now, the Senate’s coming Easter break will give Obama an opportunity to put Becker on the NLRB via recess appointment.