Senate Watch: Bennet, Bingaman, Bond, Boxer, Brown, Cantwell, Carper, Grassley, Inhofe, Kerry, Shelby, Stabenow, Voinovich, Whitehouse, Wyden

Posted by Brad Johnson Fri, 07 Aug 2009 15:16:00 GMT

Michael Bennet (D-CO)

E&E News “I’d like to hear what they have to say about it before I shoot my mouth off,” Bennet’s signed on as co-sponsor to a bill from Sen. Tom Udall, (D-N.M.) and Udall of Colorado that would enact a 25-percent-by-2025 renewable electricity standard. “It’s been an enormous positive for Colorado,” Bennet said. “The market adapted. Our evidence is that it works.” When it comes to Colorado’s fossil fuels, Bennet for now is stepping behind natural gas, calling for it to have a bigger role in the Senate bill. “It was essentially absent from the House bill,” Bennet said. “I’d like to know why that is.” Bennet said he also sees “opportunities to tie together natural gas with intermittent power sources like sun and wind.” “I don’t have any specifics today,” Bennet said about what he wants to see. “I’m talking with people in the environmental community and natural gas people and hearing what their ideas are.” “In Colorado now we’re confronting these issues because of the water shortages that we have,” Bennet said. “If we are going to be able to assure that another generation of Coloradans are able to farm, or one after that, we need some answers to these questions how do we preserve our water resources.”

Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)

E&E News Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) has long advocated price controls as part of a cap-and-trade bill, including a “safety valve” in previous versions of his own. “I think it’s something that makes a lot of sense to look at,” Bingaman said. “These cap-and-trade bills have so many pieces,” Bingaman said. “I don’t know that you can point to one thing and say, ‘Stick that in and everyone jumps on board.’ I think it’s much more complicated than that.”

Kit Bond (R-MO)

E&E News Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.) complained during an EPW Committee hearing yesterday about comments from Boxer and Kerry that they may not even be putting out allocation language with their draft bill in early September. “That troubles me a great deal,” Bond said. “We can’t leave these allocations blank, placeholders, if we’re going to give Americans a fair, open and transparent view of the legislation.”

Barbara Boxer (D-CA)

E&E News Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) is considering a “price collar” for her global warming bill that could help to curb the economic costs from a cap-and-trade program. “I don’t know why we can’t consider this as one more way to give more certainty,” Boxer said during a hearing today. “I’m looking at it, is what I’m saying.”

Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)

E&E News Among other things, the senators said they would seek a “border adjustment mechanism” that could slap trade sanctions on carbon-intensive goods from developing countries that do not have strong enough climate policies. “In the absence of an adequate international agreement, a border measure could help to prevent countries from responding to climate change less rigorously than the United States and undercutting the effectiveness of our climate policy by shifting, rather than reducing, greenhouse gas emissions,” the senators wrote. Other Senators that signed on: Russ Feingold (D-WI), Carl Levin (D-MI), Evan Bayh (D-IN), Robert Casey (D-PA), Arlen Specter (D-PA), Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Robert Byrd (D-WV), Al Franken (D-MN)

New York Times As Congress considers energy and climate legislation,” the senators wrote, “it is important that such a bill include provisions to maintain a level playing field for American manufacturing.” “It is essential that any clean energy legislation not only address the crisis of climate change, but include strong provisions to ensure the strength and viability of domestic manufacturing,” the letter said.

Maria Cantwell (D-WA)

E&E News “For economic reasons, national security reasons and environmental reasons, we cannot allow ourselves to remain dependent on foreign oil,” Cantwell said in a statement. “Biodiesel is an extremely efficient fuel that helps reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil and can play a constructive role in addressing the issue of climate change. In order to provide this important industry with certainty and predictability, Congress must act quickly to extend and reform this valuable tax credit.”

Press release “Last year, we all saw the devastating effects that $140 per barrel oil had on our economy and American families,” said Cantwell.

Tom Carper (D-DE)

E&E News “Among my top priorities was to be sure that we not only address challenges that carbon dioxide poses to our planet, but sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide and mercury, “I want to be practical,” Carper said. “In the end, I’m interested in outcome, in results. We have too many people whose health is damaged by these emissions, young and old, and whose lives are really threatened.”

Charles Grassley (R-IA)

E&E News Finance Committee ranking member Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) on Tuesday reminded senators that the Obama administration pressed hard at the start of the year for a 100 percent auction of the emission credits—only to back down as the House tackled the issue in the spring. “The administration clearly has strong feelings on the topic, and this committee will soon have to draw its own conclusions on the same topic,” he said.

Press release America is trying to kick its addiction to foreign oil, and biodiesel is part of the cure,” Grassley said. “The more we can encourage domestic production and meet demand, the better off we’ll be economically, environmentally, and geopolitically. This legislation simplifies the tax credit for producers. It also gives investors predictability so they’ll be more likely to put their money into biodiesel production.”

James Inhofe (R-OK)

E&E News “In effect, EPA has refused to provide members of Congress, as they prepare for meetings and events with their constituents over the August recess, with critical information on the Waxman-Markey energy tax and how it will affect jobs in the Midwest, South, and Great Plains, as well as food, gasoline, and electricity prices for all American consumers,” Inhofe said in a statement. Inhofe added that additional analysis of the House bill was needed despite EPA’s plans to analyze future legislation. “We asked for an analysis of the Waxman-Markey bill, which would be the House position in a potential conference committee,” Inhofe said. “Thus the economic consequences of the bill are critical for senators to understand.”

John Kerry (D-MA)

E&E News So what if the two committees do produce separate climate bills? Kerry said it would not be a problem, citing the different Senate health care bills that are emerging from the Finance and Health committees. “You work to put them together,” he said. “That’s the nature of legislating. it’s not unusual around here.”

Richard Shelby (R-AL)

E&E News “The cash-for-clunkers program is simply another bailout to prop up a struggling industry wrapped in the political guise of an environmentally friendly program.”

George Voinovich (R-OH)

E&E News Voinovich said yesterday that he will not release a procedural “hold” on the EPA deputy administrator nominee until EPA completes a new analysis of the House bill. Voinovich has been blocking Robert Perciasepe’s confirmation since last month over concerns about EPA’s analysis. “My attitude is that I want them to do another evaluation, because the real issue here is what’s the economic impact that all of this is going to have and the potential because it’s going to really color the judgment of people on whether they can support the bill,” he said.

Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)

E&E News “I wouldn’t go so far as to characterize it as a problem,” Whitehouse said. “I’d characterize it more as a process than a problem.” Yet Whitehouse also declined to say which panel he would prefer to see with the leading voice on allocations. “As long as this committee has a significant role, that’s all at present I see as fair to ask for,” he said. “I’m not disputing that the Finance Committee has a role. Working side by side, I think we can work our way though the uncertainties of not being on territory with established boundary lines.”

Rob Wyden (D-OR)

E&E News “The tax code has fueled an explosion of speculators who are distorting oil and gas markets and driving up prices for everybody,” Wyden said in a statement. “If speculators are truly in the markets and are wrecking havoc with oil and gas prices, this bill will do away with their tax subsidies and cause many to leave,” Wyden said in a floor speech. “It deflates the speculative balloon of artificially inflated profits that has made this investment arena so attractive. If speculators are not a problem, then this bill will help prove the theory that the wild swings in oil prices of the past year truly can be blamed on supply and demand.” Wyden said his bill offers a “bottom line up” approach to tackling price volatility and excessive speculation in the energy markets that some blame for crude oil reaching nearly $150 a barrel last summer.