Senate Watch: Alexander, Bond, Boxer, Carper, Chambliss, Corker, Inhofe, Kerry, Kyl, Landrieu, Lincoln, McCain, Murkowski, Reid, Voinovich, Whitehouse
U.S. Senators making the news on climate change and clean energy.
Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
E&E News Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) challenged Democrats for pushing a climate bill that he said would pick winners and losers in the energy industry. “I wonder why we have a national windmill policy instead of a national clean energy policy,” said Alexander, himself an outspoken advocate for nuclear power.
Kit Bond (R-MO)
WSJ So much talk about wind turbines exhausted the patience of Tennessee’s Lamar Alexander, who again called for a nuclear solution to America’s energy woes. “Is nuclear power renewable energy?” he asked Mr. Doerr.
Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
Reuters “My fear is that what the recession and faulty management decisions did to the auto industry, the U.S. Congress will do intentionally to the rest of Midwest manufacturing—kill U.S. jobs and drive many of them overseas to China,” said Republican Senator Kit Bond of Missouri.
Politico Senate Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who faces an uphill fight in shepherding the bill through the Senate, says she appreciates all the attention from up the street. “It’s really been a pleasure for me, because last time I did this, I had an administration that was fighting me at every turn,” she said. “Here, I have a very supportive administration, so it’s a very nice change for us.”
E&E News “I think it’s very important we understand that the approach we’re taking, we don’t pick winners or losers. We put a cap on carbon and let the marketplace do it,” Boxer said. She highlighted the U.S. EPA analysis of the House bill that estimates it could lead to 260 new 1,000 megawatt nuclear plants by 2050. After Alexander called on President Obama to support his proposal for more nuclear plants, Boxer replied: “It is very clear he doesn’t have to support your proposal. His [support of the House bill] results in more nuclear power plants being built.” Boxer added after a hearing yesterday, “I think if you look at Waxman-Markey, the prediction is there being well over 100 nuke plants. I don’t know that we’ll need to have more than that. But we’ll certainly look at all of these issues.”
IB Times “When we unleash the American innovative spirit, we will drive economic growth and create jobs and create whole new industries here at home. American entrepreneurs will create jobs,” Chairman Barbara Boxer said. Boxer also said the Senate will do “more than protect consumers.” “You are going to hear some widely different views on how much is going to cost consumers,” Boxer told the panel. “But we have the modeling and we know what it is, we know what the Waxman-Markey bill shows,” Boxer added.
Talk Radio News “At the end of the day, our competitiveness in the world economy will depend on how we face the challenge of global warming,” said Sen. Boxer (D-Calif.)
E&E News “I expect there will be a modest nuclear title in the bill coming out of committee and we will add to that on the floor,” Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), chairman of the Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee, told reporters earlier this week. This conclusion comes after discussions with Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), he said.
E&E News Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), for example, took issue with EPW ranking member James Inhofe after the Oklahoma Republican interrupted him during questioning. “Damn it,” Carper said. “I want to be given the respect that I gave you.”
Bob Corker (R-TN)
Reuters Senator Tom Carper of Delaware, a Democrat, said the extra time will give lawmakers more time to craft a better bill. “We have this extra two months, it’s been almost a gift. We need to put it to good use,” Carper said. He said Democrats could possibly attract more support from moderate Republicans by doing more to promote nuclear power in the legislation. “I think it’s important for us to remember that nuclear energy is carbon free and that there is an expanded role for nuclear,” Carper said.
Jim Inhofe (R-OK)
E&E News Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), another possible supporter, said the money or free allocations flowing to special interests is “offensive.” “Certainly our energy bill has nuclear in it and hopefully it sees the light of day, but it is not going to make up for the tremendous defects that occur in the House bill,” Corker said.
IB Times A major new energy bill won’t spur economic development and create new jobs, Republican Senators said Thursday during a public hearing. . . “If the bill actually creates jobs then there will be no need for any of these, a section on unemployment benefits, job relocation and all the rest of that,” Oklahoma Senator Inhofe said during his opening comments at the hearings today.
John Kerry (D-MA)
Talk Radio News “Waxman-Markey is a tax increase on the American people, that’s the whole point of cap-and-trade, which is to make energy more expensive so we use it less,” said Ranking Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.).
Jon Kyl (R-AZ)
Politico In March, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) hosted a dinner at his Georgetown home to discuss how to move climate change legislation through the Senate. Attendees included Chu, Stern, Jackson, energy and climate czar Carol Browner, science and technology adviser John Holdren and Stern’s deputy, Jonathan Pershing. Economic adviser Lawrence Summers was to be there, too, but canceled after Obama called him away for a last-minute meeting. “Everyone is involved,” said Kerry. “People are all doing a lot of different meetings and coming together each week to share the information and strategy.”
Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
Casa Grande Valley Newspapers “At a time when the economy remains shaky and unemployment has reached a 25-year high, Congress should not be considering new taxes. They would be bad for families and would slow the economic recovery as well. The Senate could take up the House legislation, known as the American Clean Energy and Security Act, though it may not do so until September. That would give all Americans time to register their opinions on the bill. . . This year won’t be the first time that the Senate has considered cap-and-trade. In 2008, similar legislation went down to defeat, and this year’s version will once again face opposition from Senate Republicans and some moderate Democrats. If Americans communicate their opinions about this bill to their representatives in Congress, I am convinced it can be defeated again.”
Blanche Lincoln (D-AR)
E&E News “Adding a nuclear title to the climate change bill would be just one of many improvements needed to secure Senator Landrieu’s vote,” said Aaron Saunders, a spokesman for Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.).
John McCain (R-AZ)
E&E News Fellow fence-sitter Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) also wants to see incentives for nuclear energy in any climate bill she would support but also more for biomass, natural gas and other fuels as part of an “all of the above” approach, Lincoln spokeswoman Katie Laning Niebaum said.
Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
E&E News Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a key potential Republican supporter, told reporters this week including a nuclear title is “vital” to his support for a climate bill. But McCain has also roundly criticized many other parts of the House climate bill, which Boxer has stated is the starting point for her committee draft. McCain said the “1,400-page monstrosity” House bill contains too many giveaways to special interests and trade protection measures.
Harry Reid (D-NV)
E&E News Sen. Lisa Murkowski, (R-Alaska), ranking member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, would welcome a stronger nuclear title in the climate bill but there are several other problems, such as the cost of the bill, said spokesman Robert Dillon. “At this point she is not supporting a cap-and-trade bill,” Dillon said. “No one can give us a clear estimate about the cost. ... There are more questions than answers that people need to have before they are going to say they are going to start supporting this bill.”
George Voinovich (R-OH)
E&E News Reid this week said he would be open to a nuclear component but, “we just have to do it the right way.”
Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
E&E News Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) said authors of the House bill knew this when they wrote provisions that set up Labor Department-led worker retraining programs. “There’s no credible analysis that suggests this bill will be a net job creator,” Voinovich said.
Politico Administration officials have also been frequent visitors to a regular Tuesday meeting of as many as 20 senators focused on climate and energy legislation. Jackson, Stern, Browner, senior political strategist David Axelrod and legislative liaison Jay Heimbach have all attended the meeting. “When they are invited, they come,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), a frequent attendee. “We’ve been very pleased by the responsiveness of the administration.”