Hearings on climate, cap'n'trade, energy

Senate committee hearings on energy and climate legislation.
Written by Harry Fuller, Contributor

A Senate Committe is hearing testimony on all sides of the energy, global warming, cap and trade issures. No minds will be changed, but we should see if there's some way to capture all that hot air, use it to turn a turbine.

It's the public hearings on the Kerry-Boxer energy and climate bill. C-Span has provided some live coverage of the hearings. They also have archives that you can watch on their website. C-Span does not allow excerpts to appear on youtube.

The White House would like to see this bill passed and they're working on corporate execs to get behind the cap and trade provision. That means setting standards so lenient that everybody profits except the atmopshere.

Not all Dems favor this current bill with its 900+ pages. And as we blogged here a few weeks back, the elected officials are piqued that the appointed EPA may beat them to the punch in regulating greenhouse gases. Republicans on the committee may simply miss the meetings so there's no quorum for the necessary procedures to get the bill out of committee. Most of the right-wing groups that lobby Congress hate the very idea of what they call "cap-and-tax." Much of vocal opposition to any version of the Kerry-Boxer bill comes in the form of "it'll cripple our economy, kill jobs, etc." I can recall the exact same arguments were used years ago to try to stop legislation that curtailed emissions that were leading to greater ozone holes and acid rain. Those problems were finally dealt with and, guess what, the economy has been more crippled by business practices than anti-pollution regs. We never seem to learn much from history, do we?

Testifying before the committee were three cabinet secretaries: Transportation, Energy and Interior, the head of the EPA and the Federal Energy Regulatory Committee (FERC). Groups representing businesses and environmental interests, city and state governments will be heard from. Among Wednesday's witnesses: Dan Reicher, Google's Dir. of Climate & Energy Initiatives.

Here's the website of the Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee. The committee is chaired by liberal Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and the minority leader on the committee is global warming denier Senator James Imhofe (R-OK). It fits. California is a major oil importing state and we know that Oklahoma is an oil exporter. Boxer is co-author of the bill and her state has a lot of greentech start-ups. Imhofe says it will re-work the entire U.S. economy and he wants to know what effects the bill will have. He's worried the price of Oklahoma crude might drop. One committee member argued that we Yanks invented nuclear power and should build a hundred nuclear plants and electrify half our cars and trucks and not need a tax on carbon, so there!

The three days of hearings wrap up tomorrow. The bills' official poetic moniker: "S. 1733, Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act.”

You wanna read the bill? Here's the full PDF. So don't believe the blather when some say "I never saw the bill before we voted."

And here are a series of summaries put together by the proponents of the bill.

One provision of the bill that is more stringent than the bill passed last spring by the House: it calls for a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, not just 17%. That gives everybody something to fight over.

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