A bipartisan trio of Senators presented a framework on climate change. The framework is focused on energy security and job creation and is admirably broad based in its energy approach. Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) aim to create legislation that can find a broad coalition for support. Time will tell how that works, but the start can only be considered successful.
So what’s it all about? Here’s the bullet point our eyes zeroed in on:
Additional nuclear power is an essential component of our strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We strongly support incentives for renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, but successful legislation must also recognize the important role for clean nuclear power in our low-emissions future. America has lost its nuclear technology manufacturing base, and we must rebuild it in order to compete in the global marketplace. Our legislation will encourage the construction of new nuclear power plants and provide funding to train the next generation of nuclear workers. We will make it easier to finance the construction of new nuclear power plants and improve the efficiency of the licensing process for traditional as well as small modular reactors, while fully respecting safety and environmental concerns. In addition, we support the research and development of new, safe ways to minimize nuclear waste. We are working with our colleagues to create incentives for low-carbon power sources, including nuclear, that will complement the Energy and Natural Resource Committee's work to incentivize renewable electricity.
And here are the other bullet points, with notes here and there:
Better jobs, cleaner air; Securing energy independence; Creating regulatory predictability – Given the news of the last week, consider the framework’s response:
“By failing to legislate, Congress is ceding the policy reins to the EPA and ignoring our responsibility to our constituents. We are working with our colleagues, the Administration and outside stakeholders to strike a sensible balance and determine the appropriate way to provide regulatory predictability.”
The Senators really do not want to cede this effort to the EPA.
Here’s the rest of the bullet points: Protecting consumers; Ensuring a future for coal; Reviving American manufacturing by creating jobs (listen to this: “In addition to employing thousands in the building trades, our envisioned development of nuclear and wind power will also mean jobs and growth for our steel industry. It is time to regain our leadership and create the jobs of the future here in America.” This is the first time we remember wind and nuclear being so explicitly linked as partners. We like it); Creating wealth for domestic agriculture and forestry; Regulating the carbon market; Climate change is a global problem that requires a global solution; Building consensus.
We present all this to you – and encourage you to read the whole thing (it’s only four pages) – to show how much ambition can be generated by serious legislators. While they are quite explicit in positing this, in part, as a response to the EPA’s endangerment finding, they say they’ve been working on this for weeks. (But they also knew the EPA would act sooner or later.) But it’s a lot more than a simple response.
The Senators introduced this as a letter to President Obama. Let’s see how he responds.
We’ll have a lot more on this in the coming weeks.
Sen. Joe Lieberman. He looks such the picture of gloom in so many snaps, we were happy to find something sunnier.