Skip to main content

Without You: Climate Change Bill Bypasses GOP

inhofe We can’t really call yesterday’s passage of the Kerry-Boxer climate change bill through the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee tainted, because the bill itself is almost pristine. No amendments were added to it, nothing was removed. But the process lacked a – certain – something:

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee reported out a climate change bill on Thursday despite a boycott by Republican members, who had required a complete analysis of the measure before participating in the committee debate.

The Republicans bailed out because they wanted a full EPA analysis of the bill before proceeding. Neither Committee Chair Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) nor ranking member James Inhofe (R-Okla.) have put up press releases about Boxer’s maneuver yet. However, Inhofe did issue a statement:

"The Republicans offered a clear path forward to a bipartisan markup, but it was summarily rejected by Chairman Boxer.[Boxer] decided to ignore the entreaties of all 6 ranking members from Senate committees with some share of jurisdiction over climate change legislation, as well as leading moderates in the Senate. Her action signals the death knell for the Kerry Boxer bill," he added.

We’ll see about that death knell. After all, the Finance Committee will have a run at it – Max Baucus (D - Montana), who chairs that committee, was the one vote against it in the Energy committee – and all the Senators will be able to festoon it with amendments once it hits the floor.

But for now, the bill, including the rather empty nuclear title, is the same as when the committee presented it for hearings. We await the next move.

Sen. James Inhofe would like to make a point.


Joffan said…
Since this post is definitely in partisan territory, I feel no qualms in observing that the Republicans were attempting to stall the due process of reviewing this bill by their boycott. Their excuse of looking for EPA analysis is in direct contradiction to their absence during questions of an EPA representative. In fact they were indulging in a political manouever and a counter-manouever was executed against them. Not surprisingly, as the minority party, they found that the ultimate power lay with the majority. Inhofe clearly does not realize that he no longer holds the gavel.
DocForesight said…
@Joffan - Please advise of the date, time and location of the Republican "absence during questions of an EPA representative." I have watched the EPW video from last month where EPA chief Lisa Jackson admitted that any restrictions on CO2 by the US only would have no impact on global climate.

Is it too much to ask for the EPA to produce a cost analysis when you consider the effect, in terms of energy prices and cost to consumers, of this bill?

Not surprisingly, the minority party didn't think the majority party would stoop to a minor technical allowance in the Rules to advance this bill to the floor. Such a move by Republicans would garner howls of protest from the Left, but now it's just shrugged off as the "cost" of being in the minority.

Brute power on display in the formerly greatest deliberative body in the world.
Joffan said…
Hi Doc. The EPA presentation I was referring to was on Tues 3 Nov. The EPA has already produced cost analyses of this legislation. What was already done for the House bill was good enough to adapt for the committee's purposes, unless you are a fan of government departments redoing work from scratch every time a different politican asks the same question.

Abdication is a better description of what happened here. The Republicans cannot function as an opposition if they don't turn up for the debate or the vote. I wonder if they still got paid?
bruce said…
I'm proud that Democrats have taken a stand against these various Republican demands for favorable treatment of nuclear. Nuclear power is a dangerous form of energy and I see no reason to compromise with Republicans on this point. Good job Democrats!

Again, this is partisan territory, no point in being shy about it. So far, Democrats have canceled both Yucca and re-processing, there is no nuclear waste storage solution, so it should not be part of the climate bill.
David Bradish said…
Nuclear power is a dangerous form of energy

Any facts to back that up or is that just an opinion?

there is no nuclear waste storage solution, so it should not be part of the climate bill.

What do you think the nuclear industry is doing right now with its used fuel? Is our management of used fuel in such a dire situation that it needs immediate attention?

Right now, used fuel is stored safely and securely in spent fuel pools and dry casks that are designed to last a very long time and withstand nature's wrath. To me, that doesn't sound like we need to drop all other issues to solve how we manage our used fuel.
Anonymous said…
@Bruce - I'm a Democrat who works in the nuclear industry, so I take exception to your suggestion that Republicans support nuclear power en bloc and Democrats oppose it. No offense, but that's as lazy a generalization as some of your other assertions.

If you were to evaluate the votes on, say, Yucca Mountain with respect to party affiliation, I think you would find that the situation is too complex to accommodate such a binary. There's no other way to explain the fact that the repository program has easily survived every vote in Congress (and in fact received some of its highest funding levels under the Clinton administration and Energy Secretary Bill Richardson).

Moreover, as far as the Yucca Mountain Project is concerned, I can tell you personally that it has not been "canceled." Despite the brutal and frankly unethical funding cuts orchestrated by Harry Reid, and despite Energy Secretary Stephen Chu's betrayal of his former Berkeley colleagues in LBNL's Earth Science Division, who contributed essential components of the Project's technical baseline, the YMP continues to be the law of the land (i.e., mandated by the Nuclear Waste Policy Act).

As such, the licensing proceeding continues at NRC, with DOE and its contractors submitting responses to NRC requests for additional information and providing support for legal contentions brought by opposing parties. Rest assured that, unless the NWPA is amended, any cancellation of the YMP will be in direct contravention to the law, which no one from any party should be proud of.

And no matter how much you convince yourself that nuclear power is "dangerous," it will remain true that our nation currently has around 60,000 metric tons of nuclear waste it must store safely and securely. Since you seem to use the notion of "no storage solution" as an implied argument against the continued use of nuclear power, what solution would you suggest on behalf of the 160 million American who currently live within 50 miles of the nuclear waste we have already produced? Too many of my fellow Democrats are unwilling to address this issue honestly.

Popular posts from this blog

Knowing What You’ve Got Before It’s Gone in Nuclear Energy

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior director of policy analysis and strategic planning at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

Nuclear energy is by far the largest source of carbon prevention in the United States, but this is a rough time to be in the business of selling electricity due to cheap natural gas and a flood of subsidized renewable energy. Some nuclear plants have closed prematurely, and others likely will follow.
In recent weeks, Exelon and the Omaha Public Power District said that they might close the Clinton, Quad Cities and Fort Calhoun nuclear reactors. As Joni Mitchell’s famous song says, “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.”
More than 100 energy and policy experts will gather in a U.S. Senate meeting room on May 19 to talk about how to improve the viability of existing nuclear plants. The event will be webcast, and a link will be available here.
Unlike other energy sources, nuclear power plants get no specia…

Making Clouds for a Living

Donell Banks works at Southern Nuclear’s Plant Vogtle units 3 and 4 as a shift supervisor in Operations, but is in the process of transitioning to his newly appointed role as the daily work controls manager. He has been in the nuclear energy industry for about 11 years.

I love what I do because I have the unique opportunity to help shape the direction and influence the culture for the future of nuclear power in the United States. Every single day presents a new challenge, but I wouldn't have it any other way. As a shift supervisor, I was primarily responsible for managing the development of procedures and programs to support operation of the first new nuclear units in the United States in more than 30 years. As the daily work controls manager, I will be responsible for oversight of the execution and scheduling of daily work to ensure organizational readiness to operate the new units.

I envision a nuclear energy industry that leverages the technology of today to improve efficiency…

Nuclear: Energy for All Political Seasons

The electoral college will soon confirm a surprise election result, Donald Trump. However, in the electricity world, there are fewer surprises – physics and economics will continue to apply, and Republicans and Democrats are going to find a lot to like about nuclear energy over the next four years.

In a Trump administration, the carbon conversation is going to be less prominent. But the nuclear value proposition is still there. We bring steady jobs to rural areas, including in the Rust Belt, which put Donald Trump in office. Nuclear plants keep the surrounding communities vibrant.

We hold down electricity costs for the whole economy. We provide energy diversity, reducing the risk of disruption. We are a critical part of America’s industrial infrastructure, and the importance of infrastructure is something that President-Elect Trump has stressed.

One of our infrastructure challenges is natural gas pipelines, which have gotten more congested as extremely low gas prices have pulled m…