Friends of the Earth Issues Detailed Critique of Kerry-Boxer Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act 9

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 30 Sep 2009 16:35:00 GMT

Breaking from most national environmental organizations, Friends of the Earth has issued a detailed critique of the Kerry-Boxer Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act, which limits global warming pollution and invests in clean energy:

We commend Senators Boxer and Kerry for their dedication to combating the important problem of climate change but we cannot support a bill that fails to solve the problem. Overall the draft is riddled with loopholes and does not go far enough to protect the planet.

Friends of the Earth’s “areas of concern” include:

Emissions Cap: Science demands at least a 40% reduction in emissions, compared to 1990, by 2020. The draft bill has emissions reductions targets of about 20 percent below 2005 levels – nowhere near what a fair U.S. contribution to a global emissions reductions should be to avert climate catastrophe

Clean Air Act: The draft bill prohibits the Administration from regulating greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants and other stationary sources until 2020.

Offset Loopholes: The extensive use of unreliable offsets in this draft bill, up to 2 billion tons a year, seriously undermines the integrity of the already weak emissions cap and delays the health, environmental, and economic benefits of shifting to a low-carbon economy.

Methane Regulations: The House-passed bill would require emissions from landfills, coal mines and natural gas pipelines to be regulated, but under the Kerry-Boxer draft, these sources can voluntarily capture methane in exchange for offset payments.

Markets Regulations: The bill would create from scratch a new commodities market for carbon that could quickly be the largest market in the world and has no specifics on how that market would be regulated.

Subsidizes Dirty Energy: The bill gives special subsidies to expensive, unsafe and environmentally damaging technologies such as nuclear reactors and carbon capture and sequestration and capture for coal plants, not to mention ambiguous incentives for biofuels.

Friends of the Earth’s policy team will be taking a deeper look at the bill in further days and release a more detailed analysis at a later date so that we can work with the Senate to pass legislation that will fairly and effectively address the problem of climate change.

Blue Green Alliance Partners Unveil and Discuss New Recommendations for Comprehensive Cap-and-Trade Climate Change Legislation in 2009

Posted by Brad Johnson Fri, 27 Mar 2009 14:00:00 GMT

With the U.S. facing combined threats from economic and climate crises, the Blue Green Alliance and its labor and environmental partners are releasing their policy recommendations calling for passage of comprehensive climate legislation, driven by a cap-and-trade system, in 2009. Through strong climate legislation, America can jumpstart its economic recovery and create millions of good jobs for America’s workforce.

The press teleconference will be on Friday, March 27, at 10 a.m. ET and will coincide with the release of the BGA policy statement on climate change.

The call will include Leo Gerard, International President, United Steelworkers; Frances Beinecke, President, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC); Jim Clark, President, IUE-CWA; and David Foster, Executive Director of the Blue Green Alliance, who will discuss the urgency for climate change legislation, as well as the political and economic dynamics in the debate around this issue. Climate change legislation is needed in 2009 to rapidly put people back to work with millions of jobs building the clean energy economy, promote long-term economic growth and reduce global warming emissions to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

CALL-IN: (888) 275 – 4480 Reference ID #: 92215225

Participants
  • United Steelworkers International President Leo Gerard
  • NRDC President Frances Beinecke
  • IUE-CWA President Jim Clark
  • Blue Green Alliance Executive Director David Foster

Making Green Jobs Good Jobs

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 03 Feb 2009 16:00:00 GMT

Senate Finance Committee member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and House Energy and Commerce Committee member Jay Inslee, D-Wash., will join Laborers’ International Union general president Terence O’Sullivan, Sierra Club political director Cathy Duvall, and clean energy business leaders and workers for a news conference on Tuesday, February 3 at 11 a.m. ET at the United States Capitol to urge Congressional leaders to take bold action to create a new Green American Dream for working people by making sure the newly created green jobs are good jobs that can sustain families and fuel economic recovery.

Speakers will release a new report analyzing the varied quality of existing green jobs (some paying as little as $8.25 an hour), and urge Congress to take bold action to ensure that the major public investments in Congress’ economic recovery and reinvestment plan create a green economy that rebuilds the middle class and renews the American Dream for America’s workers.

The report release comes a day before hundreds of labor, environmental and business advocates go to Capitol Hill — on Wednesday, February 4 — for Green Jobs Advocacy Day to educate lawmakers about the job-creating opportunities that exist in the green economy.

Participants
  • Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.
  • Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Wash.
  • Terence O’Sullivan, general pres., LIUNA
  • Cathy Duvall, political dir., Sierra Club
  • Michael Peck, dir. Human Resources, Gamesa
  • Dennis Wilde, Gerding Edlen Development
  • David Foster, exec. dir., Blue Green Alliance
  • Perrette Hopkins, trainee, Garden State Alliance for a New Economy

NRDC's Karen Wayland Returns to Hill as Speaker Pelosi's Climate Policy Adviser

Posted by Brad Johnson Mon, 26 Jan 2009 18:00:00 GMT

Hill Heat has learned that NRDC legislative director Karen Wayland will return to Congress as a climate and energy policy adviser for Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Dr. Wayland holds a dual Ph.D. in geology and resource development from Michigan State University.

From 2001 to 2003, Dr. Wayland served as the American Geophysical Union Congressional Science Fellow for Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), working on nuclear waste, water, energy and Native American issues, immediately upon completion of her doctoral dissertation.

Carl Pope Stepping Down as Executive Director of Sierra Club

Posted by Brad Johnson Fri, 23 Jan 2009 18:30:00 GMT

Carl Pope, the 16-year executive director of the Sierra Club, has announced he plans to step down from his position when a new director is found. Pope noted the election of President Obama as “a very exciting time for the Sierra Club and the environmental movement.”

Pope released the following statement:
After 16 years I have decided to step down from my position as Executive Director of the Sierra Club. While I look forward to continuing to serve the Club in a new capacity, I am ready to turn the leadership of the organization over to someone new. Over these years I have made many wonderful friends, and experienced both joyful victories and tragic setbacks in our struggle for a sustainable future. I look forward to many more such victories as I continue this work. My decision comes at a very exciting time for the Sierra Club and the environmental movement. The election of President Barack Obama, and the increase in the number of environmental champions in the Congress, means that after eight years of bitter defense, it is time for America to resume its tradition of environmental leadership.

Moving Cooler: Leveraging Transportation to Fight Climate Change

Posted by Brad Johnson Fri, 21 Nov 2008 14:40:00 GMT

Day 1: Cooler Heads Prevailing

Background Briefings on Facts, Trends, Policy and Politics

9:40-10:00: U.S. Transportation Policy – Survey of ISTEA-SAFETEA-LU

  • Michael Replogle: Environmental Defense

10:00-10:10: Break

10:10-11:00 Where Are We Going? – Demographic, market and policy trends changing the context for transportation * Chris Leinberger: Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Center; University of Michigan; and
  • Rob Puentes: Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Center

11:00-12:15: Tools for Shaping a Low Carbon Transportation Future Panel Discussion and Q & A

Growing Cooler – smart growth and transit
  • Geoff Anderson: Smart Growth America; Transportation for America
Enhancing walking and biking
  • Kevin Mills: Rails to Trails Conservancy
Intelligent transportation systems and pricing
  • Leslie Barras: ITS America
Blueprint Plans
  • Mike McKeever: Sacramento Area Council of Governments

12:15-1:30: Lunch

Lunch speaker – New Vision for American Transportation (12:45-1:30)
  • Jannette Sadik-Kahn: New York City Department of Transportation

1:30-3:00: Politics and Policy: Transportation and Climate

1:30-1:50: Policy in Brief: A summary of action to date at the state and federal level
  • Marty Spitzer: Center for Clean Air Policy
1:50-2:30: Perspectives from the Hill
  • Amy Scarton, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
  • Susan Binder: Committee on Environment and Public Works
2:30-3:30: Perspectives from Off-the-Hill
  • Don Ross: Transportation for America
  • Art Guzzetti: American Public Transportation Association
  • Polly Trottenberg: Building America’s Future
  • Joshua Shank: Bipartisan Policy Center
  • Bill Ankner: American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials

3:30-3:45: Break

3:45-5:30: What’s the Vision: A Proposal for the Green Groups and CLEAN

3:45-4:45: Proposal for Platform, with Group Discussion
  • Colin Peppard: Friends of the Earth
4:45–5:00: Fundraising
  • David Burwell
5:00-5:30: Designing a Winning Green Campaign: Discussion of Goals and Overview of Next Meeting
  • Deron Lovaas: Natural Resources Defense Council

5:30-???: Happy Hour

The Pew Environment Group
1025 F Street NW, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20004

Telephone: (202) 552-2000

RSVP

Energy/Environment's Role in Election

Posted by Wonk Room Mon, 03 Nov 2008 21:09:00 GMT

Leading national conservation groups will hold an afternoon press conference next Wednesday, November 5th to discuss the unprecedented role of energy and global warming as issues in this year’s elections.

The groups will recap their own political programs and endorsements, outline how candidates up and down the ballot engaged on key issues, and will begin to lay out what a new administration and Congress will mean for clean energy, economic recovery and global warming.

  • Gene Karpinski, President, League of Conservation Voters
  • Cathy Duvall, Political Director, Sierra Club
  • Anna Aurilio, Washington DC Director, Environment America
  • Robert Wendelgass, National Deputy Director, Clean Water Action
  • Sue Brown, Executive Director, National Wildlife Federation Action Fund

Where:

National Press Club First Amendment Lounge 529 14th St. NW 13th Floor Washington, DC

Visuals will include presentation of group and candidate ads from throughout the campaign

American Climate Values Survey briefing

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 01 Oct 2008 12:30:00 GMT

The American Climate Values Survey is cutting edge, actionable research that provides important strategic guidance to leaders of the environmental movement looking to reach new audiences or be more effective with their communications efforts.

For questions, please contact Kara Davidson (202-457-1126) or events@ecoamerica.org.

ACVS is sponsored by NRDC, the Alliance for Climate Protection, EcoAmerica, California Conservation, and the Nature Conservancy.

The Nature Conservancy First Floor Conference Center 4245 North Fairfax Drive, Suite 100 Arlington, VA 22203-1606

Environmental Coalition on Baucus-Grassley: 'Pass Clean Energy Incentives; Strip out Provisions that Support Dirty Fuels' 1

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 18 Sep 2008 20:25:00 GMT

A coalition of 16 environmental organizations (and the League of Women Voters) is sending a joint letter to U.S. Senators indicating a joint position on the Baucus-Grassley tax extenders package (H.R. 6049). They write:
On behalf of our millions of members and activists, we urge Congress to pass the clean energy tax incentives included in the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 and strip the bill of incentives for dirty fossil fuels. Congress should take this opportunity to promote a new energy economy and begin the fight against global warming, and not reward the big oil and dirty coal industries.

The organizations are the Alaska Wilderness League, Audubon, the Center for International Environmental Law, Clean Water Action, Defenders of Wildlife, Earthjustice, Environment America, the Environmental Defense Fund, Friends of the Earth, League of Conservation Voters, League of Women Voters of the United States, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, The Wilderness Society, and the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The National Wildlife Federation, because of the “sweeping new federal subsidies for oil shale, tar sands and liquid coal refining,” “dirty fuels that will dramatically increase global warming pollution and threaten millions of acres of wildlife habitat,” is sending a letter in unambiguous opposition to Baucus-Grassley.

The text of both letters is after the jump.

September 18, 2008

Pass Clean Energy Incentives; Strip out Provisions that Support Dirty Fuels

Dear Senator,

On behalf of our millions of members and activists, we urge Congress to pass the clean energy tax incentives included in the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 and strip the bill of incentives for dirty fossil fuels. Congress should take this opportunity to promote a new energy economy and begin the fight against global warming, and not reward the big oil and dirty coal industries.

The bill would extend federal tax incentives for energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies that have expired or will expire at the end of this year. These incentives must be extended immediately to avoid significant harm to the developing clean energy industries in the United States. The technologies produced by these industries play a vital role in reducing global warming pollution, creating new high-wage jobs in our country, and saving consumers and businesses money on their energy bills.

The extensions would help consumers and businesses reduce their energy consumption immediately, and in so doing blunt the impact of high energy bills. The greater use of energy efficiency and renewable energy spurred by extending the incentives would also decrease demand for natural gas, which in turn would help reduce natural gas prices. High natural gas prices are putting significant upward pressure on inflation and consumer energy bills. The incentives will help create new high-wage jobs in the clean energy technology sector and help the U.S. gain ground on other countries that are already ahead of us in the development and deployment of clean energy technologies.

The renewable energy and efficiency provisions have broad support from the nation’s largest retailers, leading appliance makers, commercial real estate industry, home insulators, architect association, the solar industry, biomass industry, wind industry, and environmental groups. However, the bill currently contains several controversial provisions on dirty fuels that we urge Congress to strip before the bill becomes law. These dirty liquid fuel provisions in the bill would be a major setback in efforts to solve global warming. Extraction of these fuels – tar sands, oil shale and liquid coal – can produce more than twice the amount of global warming pollution as conventional oil. Supporting these fuels through tax incentives is completely at odds with mandatory carbon reductions that we expect Congress will enact in the near future.

The “Refinery Expensing” provision in the bill promotes the production of oil shale and tar sands fuels. This provision expands the Internal Revenue Code Section 179C tax credit to refinery property that is used to directly convert oil shale and tar sands into liquid transportation fuels. The extraction, refining and combustion of oil from shale is likely to generate upwards of four times more greenhouse gasses than conventional fuels and would be mined from some of our most precious wildlands in the Rocky Mountain West.

Tar sands oil from Canada is being extracted from the heart of Canada’s Boreal forest, one of the last large intact ecosystems on Earth. The devastating extraction process turns the pristine forest into a moonscape. Tar sands could be produced in the Western United States as well. Canadian tar sands oil already is being refined in refineries in the Midwest and Rockies regions and makes up 8% of the fuel use in our country. Of the half dozen U.S. refinery expansions in the permitting stage, most are multi-billion dollar expansions to take more tar sands oil from Canada. Supporting these refinery expansions through the tax code will impose high costs on taxpayers when oil companies operating in the tar sands are making record profits.

Provisions that incentivize liquid coal are also problematic. Relying on liquid coal would nearly double the global warming pollution per gallon of transportation fuels and increase the damage of coal mining to communities and ecosystems across the country. This fuel has yet to emerge as a significant transportation fuel in the United States and is not a viable fuel in a world where carbon must be reduced. Congress should therefore not provide any support to the development of liquid coal.

Extending the clean energy tax incentives would maintain the growth of energy efficiency and renewable energy industries, which are essential to reducing global warming pollution. We urge you to support clean energy incentives and strip the dirty fuels provisions before the bill is sent to the president. Sincerely,
Karen Wayland, Legislative Director
Natural Resources Defense Council

Tiernan Sittenfeld, Legislative Director
League of Conservation Voters

Cindy Shogan, Executive Director
Alaska Wilderness League

Jennifer S. Rennicks, Federal Policy Director
Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

Betsy Loyless,
Audubon

Shawnee Hoover, Legislative Director
Friends of the Earth

Marty Hayden, V.P. Policy and Legislation
Earthjustice
Lynn Thorp, National Campaigns Coordinator
Clean Water Action

Linda Lance, Vice-President for Public Policy
The Wilderness Society

Debbie Sease, National Campaign Director
Sierra Club

Elizabeth Thompson, Legislative Director
Environmental Defense Fund

Steve Porter, Director of Climate Programs
Center for International Environmental Law

Marchant Wentworth, Legislative Representative
Union of Concerned Scientists

Anna Aurilio, Director, Washington Office
Environment America

Judy Duffy, Advocacy Director
League of Women Voters of the United States

Robert Dewey, V.P. Government Relations Defenders of Wildlife

NWF:

Dear Senator: On behalf of our four million members and supporters and the hundreds of thousands of hunters, anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts in our ranks, we write in opposition to the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 (H.R. 6049). While we strongly favor the critical extensions of incentives for conservation and renewable energy we oppose H.R. 6049 because it includes substantial new subsidies for dirty fuels that will dramatically increase global warming pollution and threaten millions of acres of wildlife habitat. The clean energy tax incentives have passed both the Senate and House several times, and we applaud the Senate’s efforts to move these into law. Unfortunately, by including sweeping new federal subsidies for oil shale, tar sands and liquid coal refining, the bill no longer represents the kind of progress America needs to confront global warming. We specifically oppose:

Refinery Incentives for Oil Shale & Tar Sands: The “Refinery Expensing” provision in the bill promotes the production of oil shale and tar sands fuels. This provision expands the Internal Revenue Code Section 179C tax credit to refinery property that is used to directly convert oil shale and tar sands into liquid transportation fuels.

Oil shale development would put at risk millions of acres of wildlife habitat throughout the Rocky Mountain West important to hunters, anglers and other wildlife enthusiasts. Moreover, producing transportation fuels from oil shale and tar sands would dramatically increase global warming pollution.

Oil shale production is five times more CO2 intensive than conventional drilling and gasoline production. The United States cannot change course on its rising global warming pollution levels while quintupling the CO2 in our tanks.

A viable shale industry would also have significant direct impacts on wildlife, and inevitably collide with consumer water needs in the arid West. Shale production requires five gallons of water to produce one gallon of fuel, and the vast majority of shale is located in arid states with limited water resources. The federal government reports that a viable shale industry would consume upwards of 315 million gallons of water daily – 130 percent of the City of Denver’s daily water use. Combined with the massive disturbance of land and habitat caused by shale extraction, this fuel presents a grave risk to sensitive wildlife habitat in the Rocky Mountain West.

Tar sands production is four times more CO2 intensive than conventional drilling and gasoline production. Tar sands also threaten wildlife habitat as they are currently being mined from Canada’s boreal forest, and could be produced in the Western United States as well. Of the half dozen U.S. refinery expansions in the permitting stage, most are multi-billion dollar expansions to take more tar sands oil from Canada. Supporting these refinery expansions through the tax code will impose high costs on taxpayers when oil companies operating in the tar sands are making record profits.

Incentives for Liquid Coal: the “Carbon Capture and Sequestration Demonstration Projects” and the “Extension and Expansion of the Alternative Fuels Credit” would promote coal to liquid transportation fuels. The production and use of coal-based transportation fuels would more than double the global warming pollution per gallon as compared to conventional gasoline. It would also increase the devastating effects of coal mining felt by communities and wildlife stretching from Appalachia to the Rocky Mountains.

NWF strongly supports provisions in the bill that would extend federal tax incentives for energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies that have expired or will expire at the end of this year. These incentives must be extended immediately to avoid significant harm to the developing clean energy industries in the United States. The technologies produced by these industries play a vital role in reducing global warming pollution, creating new high-wage jobs here at home, and saving consumers and businesses money on their energy bills.

The extensions would blunt the impact of high energy bills by encouraging greater use of energy efficiency and renewable energy, and therefore decrease demand for natural gas. High natural gas prices are putting significant upward pressure on inflation and consumer energy bills.

However, the increased global warming pollution and destruction of important wildlife habitat that would result from the oil shale, tar sands, and CTL provisions in H.R.6049 outweigh the benefits of these clean energy incentives. The United States cannot change course on its rising global warming pollution levels while dramatically increasing the CO2 in our tanks. We therefore regrettably urge opposition to the bill.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Larry Schweiger
President & CEO
National Wildlife Federation

NWF Opposes "All Of The Above" Bill; LCV Opposes Even More Industry-Friendly Motion To Recommit

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 16 Sep 2008 20:00:00 GMT

As votes near this evening on the “all of the above” Democratic energy package (H.R. 6899), National Wildlife Federation president Larry Schweiger sent a letter to Congress opposing the bill because it lifts the oil shale moratorium. He writes:
The public, including National Wildlife Federation’s four million members and supporters, wants Congress to take the urgent and necessary steps that will give consumers better energy choices, cut oil dependency and cut global warming pollution. While we favor many provisions in the Comprehensive American Energy Security and Taxpayer Protection Act (H.R. 6899), especially when compared to the expected motion to recommit, we oppose the bill because of its provision allowing commercial oil shale leasing. As a result of this provision, the bill fails to address the fundamental challenge of avoiding significant new increases in global warming pollution and protecting important wildlife habitat on our public lands.
League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski issued the following statement opposing the Republican motion to recommit:
Drilling is no longer the issue – unfortunately, both H.R. 6899 and the motion to recommit include drilling. The issue today is whether or not each Member of Congress will stand up for the American people or stand with the oil industry lobbyists.

All summer, Republicans have called for an ‘All of the Above’ plan on energy. Now, presented with a compromise that gives them everything they’ve asked for, the Republican leadership refuses to support it. Instead, they offer a motion to recommit, which will remove every provision from the bill that Big Oil doesn’t like: provisions that reduce tax breaks to Big Oil and extend them to renewable energy companies, increase efficiency, and create the first national renewable energy standard.

How each member votes will highlight the real differences between those in Congress who support clean energy as central to America’s energy future, and those who remain tied to big oil and want to keep us stuck in the past. LCV opposes the motion to recommit and calls on the Members of Congress who support it to stop working for the oil companies and start working for the American people.

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