Although Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) decided not to co-sponsor the American Power Act – a protest against its spot on the Senate’s calendar being usurped by immigration legislation – that does not mean his support for it has waned:
"I believe the broad concepts we came up with before are transformational and are the most consumer and business-friendly effort to date in dealing with carbon pollution. Most importantly, they can serve as a framework in allowing America to lead in the creation of alternative energy jobs and significantly reducing our dependency on foreign oil. With these goals in mind, I am interested in carefully reviewing the details of the new proposal.
Graham leaves himself an out with that last sentence, but we think he has the right idea. He does enter into contentious territory:
"Abandoning drilling and fossil fuels is not a realistic option. However, it is imperative that we pause to find out what led to the historic oil spill in the Gulf and ensure that it never happens again. The reality still remains that fossil fuels will be required in America for decades to come.
We suspect this is an issue on which politicians can set sail. Right now, the tide is not with Graham’s argument, but tides that come in can go out, too – this one falls into wait-and-see territory, but at least Graham has hoisted his flag.
Energy bills are not known to attract a lot of affection from environmental advocacy groups, but Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) has worked to get as many on-board as he can. It’s an impressive line-up:
Alliance for Climate Protection, Audubon, Center for American Progress Action Fund, Climate Solutions, Defenders of Wildlife, Environment Northeast, Environment America, Environmental Defense Fund, Environmental Law and Policy Center, Fresh Energy, Green For All, League of Conservation Voters, National Tribal Environmental Council, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Oxfam America, Sierra Club, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, The Wilderness Society, Union of Concerned Scientists, World Wildlife Fund.
And here’s part of their joint statement (part of a larger pdf):
Every day the Senate fails to pass comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation we put our economy, our national security and our environment at greater risk. Inaction is too costly, and the challenge is too urgent. The Gulf Coast oil catastrophe is yet another reminder that the United States must reduce its dependence on oil to protect our security, economy and environment.
We mostly agree – what’s not to agree with, really – and will just note the different view of what the oil spill represents than that of Sen. Graham. (Other conservation and environmental groups provide their own quotes, too.) Clearly, the legislation – though obviously not timed to appear coincident with the oil spill – has found its moment, though hopefully not at the expense of its many provisions not aimed at oil. Too much focus on that issue will warp perception of a very expansive bill.
The document we snatched this from contains a great many testimonials. Read through it and see if your favorite is there.
Speaking of favorites being there, here is NEI’s President and CEO Marvin Fertel from the same document:
“The nuclear-related provisions of this legislation provide a solid platform for the expansion of nuclear energy to meet our electricity needs, create thousands of jobs and help achieve the desired reductions of greenhouse gas emissions. I applaud Senators Kerry and Lieberman for their collaborative work on this legislation and for seeking input from a variety of interested parties to craft this proposal. We believe there is solid consensus on the need for, and the value of, the nuclear energy provisions in this proposal.”
And a snippet from Entergy’s President and CEO J. Wayne Leonard:
Entergy supports the bill’s market-based approach, which will put a price on carbon dioxide. This is the most effective and efficient way of achieving reduction of greenhouse gasses and spurring innovation and investment into new carbon-reducing technologies.”
Likewise, here is Exelon’s Chairman and CEO John Rowe:
As the nation’s largest nuclear operator, Exelon also appreciates that the senators have recognized nuclear power as a low-emission source of baseload electricity with an important role to play in the country’s transition to a low-carbon economy.
Entergy’s J. Wayne Leonard wants you to know.