13 May '10
9:33 AM UTC

Kerry – Lieberman: The Reaction

Reaction to the Kerry – Lieberman climate change and energy legislation has been positive, largely for being what it is: A solid effort by the U.S. to tackle the climate change issue that comes years after major industrialized nations in Europe rolled out their own carbon-pricing plan. See here, for our analysis on the bill’s chances of  getting passed the Senate.

The environmental community likes the bill’s cap-and-trade provision but opposes its support for offshore oil and gas drilling and funding to expand nuclear power generation. Oil and gas companies, which would be the most affected by the legislation, rehashed talking-points supporting the need to tackle the climate change issue, but largely remained on the side lines, avoiding to take a position until a careful  analysis of the legislation.  We’ve compiled a roundup of the various reactions to Kerry – Lieberman by key participants in the ongoing climate change debate.

Senator Lindsey Graham, (R-S.C.)

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.

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.

Spokesperson Morgan Crinklaw, speaking for Chevron

We will not take a position on this bill until we have a chance to review the language and evaluate it against our climate change principles. Chevron shares the concerns of governments and the public about climate change. We believe that any climate change legislative framework should maximize energy efficiency and conservation, be implemented at the national level, be fair to the participating sectors, and avoid duplicative regulation. It should also be aligned with, and assessed against, broad policy objectives. Once we have an opportunity to fully review the bill, we will engage and provide constructive input.

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31 March '10
12:25 PM UTC
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Obama’s Energy Strategy Draws Praise, Scorn [UPDATE]

President Obama , including a five-year plan for offshore oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and the eastern seaboard, at a speech this morning on energy strategy.

The strategy, widely seen as an attempt to garner Republican votes for upcoming climate legislation, brought praise from American Petroleum Institute Chief Executive Jack Gerard said “we stand ready to work with them to make this a reality.”

But some of Obama’s traditional Democratic allies, such as New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg, as a “kill, baby, kill policy” that will harm marine life and coastal economies.

Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) was more conciliatory. In a statement emailed to G.E.R.Kerry spokeswoman Whitney Smith says the Senator is ready to compromise if it gets him the 60 votes he needs to pass his climate change bill.

She writes:

In the difficult work of putting together a 60 vote coalition to price carbon, Senator Kerry has put aside his own long-time policy objections and been willing to explore potential energy sources off our coasts as part of a suite of alternative solutions. He and his colleagues are committed to find acceptable compromises on onshore and offshore oil and gas exploration, conducted in an environmentally sensitive manner that protects the interests of the coastal states.

31 March '10
10:18 AM UTC
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Obama To Expand Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling, Next Stop: A Climate Change Law [Update]

President Obama is set to announce an unprecedented expansion of offshore oil and gas drilling on the Atlantic Coast (as far north as Delaware) as well as the Florida Gulf Coast and parts of Alaska. This is a big shift to the right for the Obama administration and major reversal of the country’s energy policy.

The president is expected to make an announcement today at 11:00 AM ET. Obama will specifically lift a long-time moratorium banning oil exploration on the East Coast and will open 167 million acres for oil and gas exploration and eventually, production.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar tells Bloomberg News that oil exploration could start this summer.

The news  will obviously anger Obama’s environmental base, which will point out that on the campaign trail, while his opponents rode the “drill, baby, drill” wave, he argued that expanding domestic oil and gas production would not lower energy costs (at the time a barrel was trading at triple digits).

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10 March '10
3:58 PM UTC
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Full Push For A Senate Climate Change Bill

Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.), Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) are pushing ahead to get their bi-partisan climate change and energy bill on the Senate floor for a full vote. Read More »