January 2010

Clean Air Under Attack January 12, 2010 : 6:32 PM

It's an outrage. 2010 should start in a way that reflects our movement's amazing accomplishments from last year -- moving the ball forward to passage of comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation. Instead, our elected leaders are proposing policies that would set us back decades and let the worst polluters completely off the hook.

Despite the chorus of alarm bells sounding the need to address the climate crisis and stop polluting the air our families breathe and the water we drink, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski and her allies are attacking the Clean Air Act -- for the second time in six months.

And it gets worse. Last night, news broke that the original version of the amendment was literally drafted with lobbyists for the oil and coal industry.*

We can't let this attack succeed. Write your Senators right now and tell them to vote NO on Senator Murkowski's proposal.

We defeated this same effort once already, just six months ago -- but the fossil fuel lobby is at it again. The amendment would strip the Environmental Protection Agency of its ability to regulate most carbon pollution, letting the worst polluters completely off the hook.

Efforts like this are designed to do one thing and one thing only -- slow our transition to a clean energy economy that will create millions of new jobs, reduce our dependence on foreign oil and solve the climate crisis.

Help flood your Senators with messages to vote NO on this attack on the Clean Air Act.

The very last thing we should do in the fight to end the climate crisis is throw away tools that we already know are effective at reducing pollution. But that's exactly what Senator Murkowski's proposal does.

For decades, the Clean Air Act has kept millions of tons of pollutants out of our air and water. Senator Murkowski's proposal would create an Alaska-sized loophole in the Clean Air Act, giving a pass to the biggest carbon polluters.

Email your Senators now and tell them to vote NO on Senator Murkowski's amendment -- and protect our air, water and climate:


In 2010, our movement to solve the climate crisis will face its biggest test yet -- passing comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation. But if Senator Murkowski's amendment passes, some in Congress will use it as an excuse to keep stalling -- and the long overdue promise of progress toward a 21st century clean energy economy will be lost.

You helped stop this toxic amendment once before. Together, we can and must stop it again.

Thank you.


Who's Behind the Murkowski Amendment? January 19, 2010 : 4:36 PM

The Washington Post confirmed “that two Washington lobbyists, Jeffrey R. Holmstead and Roger R. Martella, Jr., helped craft the original amendment Murkowski planned to offer on the floor last fall.”

Who are Holmstead and Martella?

"Jeffrey Holmstead was the assistant administrator for air and radiation at EPA from 2001 through 2005."

"After leaving the administration in 2005, Mr. Holmstead joined the law firm of Bracewell and Giuliani, where he heads the Environmental Strategies Group. Mr. Holmstead is a registered lobbyist for Bracewell and Guiliani, and has lobbied for Ameren Corporation, an electrical utility company; Arch Coal, a coal producer; and Duke Energy, an electrical utility company."

"Roger R. Martella, Jr. was general counsel for the EPA from 2007 to September 2008".

"After leaving the administration in 2008, Mr. Martella joined the environmental practice group at Sidley Austin LLP, as a partner. Mr. Martella is currently a registered lobbyist and has lobbied on the behalf of the National Alliance of Forest Owners, a business alliance focused on the needs of private forest owners and managers, and the Alliance of Food Associations, a "business alliance dedicated to protecting the food sector and its consumers.""

Republicans and climate deniers are allowing energy company lobbyists to write environmental legislation. Now they are close to having the votes to make this horrible amendment a reality. That is why it is so important you sign Repower America’s petition opposing the Murkowski amendment now by clicking here.


"The Most Important Policy We Will Ever Pass." January 21, 2010 : 4:36 PM

Last week Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid gave an amazing speech at the Geothermal Energy Association’s Energy Finance Forum in New York. He told the crowd:

"As you know, the House has passed a comprehensive clean energy and climate bill that does many of these things. I support addressing each of these issues in the Senate’s version, and I expect that to happen this spring. "

"We have a lot on our plate. We have to finish reforming health insurance and Wall Street, and also must help bring Americans out of unemployment. But we are not so busy that we can’t find the time to address comprehensive energy and climate legislation."

Senator Reid went on to hold Senator Murkowski accountable for her climate killing amendment:

"For example, next week Senator Murkowski of Alaska may offer an amendment – to a completely unrelated bill, it should be noted – that would stop the EPA from protecting Americans from global warming pollution. It’s a highly political move, and a highly hazardous one to our health and the environment."

"If this Senator succeeds, it could keep Congress from working constructively in a bipartisan manner to pass clean energy legislation this year. That’s why I will work hard to defeat this misguided amendment. I hope that doesn’t come to that."

You can sign Repower America’s petition opposing the Murkowski amendment by clicking here.

Senator Reid concluded by saying:

"And though turning around the effects of years of recklessness might be the most difficult issue we tackle, taking on the clean-energy challenge also may be the most important policy we will ever pass. And we cannot afford to wait any longer to act. "


Green Pastors January 22, 2010 : 6:47 PM

The environmental and religious communities have long been allies in the fight to save our planet. This trend is increasing in the Northwest where churches are finding environmentalism can help fill their pews:

"A study released in December by the Barna Group, which more typically studies trends among evangelicals, said that older, mainline churches faced many challenges but that their approach to environmental issues was among several areas that "position those churches well for attracting younger Americans.""

""We actually encourage it as a way to get people into the churches," said Lee Anne Beres, the executive director of Earth Ministry, a Seattle group founded in 1992 that has guided many area congregations through environmental upgrades over the past decade but has recently emphasized more direct political action for pastors and parishioners. "That is what people are interested in, and I don't see anything Machiavellian in that.""

"It's fertile ground," Ms. Beres said, "and these are issues that people are predisposed to care about here in the Northwest."


Clean Energy Creates Jobs January 27, 2010 : 11:26 AM

Last week while visiting Ohio President Obama, “watched formerly laid-off workers weld and shape components for wind turbines as they work toward a certificate or associate's degree.”

Green energy job are a vital part of any recovery bill. That is why during his speech the President told the crowd:

"I'm calling on Congress to pass a jobs bill to put more Americans to work building off our Recovery Act; put more Americans back to work rebuilding roads and railways; provide tax breaks to small businesses for hiring people; offer families incentives to make their homes more energy-efficient, saving them money while creating jobs."

"'That's why we enacted initiatives that are beginning to give rise to a clean energy economy. That's part of what's going on in this community college. If we hadn't done anything with the Recovery Act, talk to the people who are building wind turbines and solar panels. They would have told you their industry was about to collapse because credit had completely frozen,' Obama added."


Great Job, Repower America Members! January 27, 2010 : 1:13 PM

Repower America members have sent more than 7,000 letters to the editor opposing Lisa Murkowski’s attempt to gut the Clean Air Act.

Here are some excerpts from publish letters:

Tim Peterson from Billings Montana writes in the Billings Gazette: “I want my senators, Max Baucus and John Tester, to know that I will be watching how they vote on Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s amendment attacking the Clean Air Act [...] A vote for this Dirty Air Act is a vote for backroom deals and polluters.”

Lonny Peet from Madison, Wisconsin writes in The Cap Times: “Instead of looking for ways to delay action, our senators should be working to pass clean energy and climate legislation that demonstrates true American leadership, creates jobs for our economy, makes our nation more secure and reduces pollution.”

Bob Paleck from Vernonia, Oregon writes in The Daily Astorian: “After attending U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden’s town hall meeting in Vernonia yesterday, I’m assured that he can be counted on to defeat this arrogant attempt to hamstring federal efforts to clean up the power industry.”

You can write your own letter today by clicking here.


A Green Label January 27, 2010 : 7:11 PM

According to Reuters:

"Some of the biggest names in technology and retailing are aiming to create what they say is a better way to identify the "greenest" purchases in consumer electronics."

"The effort is being led by the industry-backed Sustainability Consortium, which plans to develop standardized criteria that will be used to label devices, starting with computers and monitors."

"The initiative includes retail giants Wal-Mart Stores Inc and Best Buy Co, and technology leaders Hewlett-Packard Co, Dell Inc, Intel Corp and Toshiba Corp."

If accurate, these labels could go a long way towards providing consumers with vital information about how the products they buy affect the planet.


A Great Debate January 28, 2010 : 4:26 PM

Robert Kennedy Jr. recently debated Massey Energy CEO and climate crisis denier Don Blankenship.

There were several notable moments during the event. The first one happened when Kennedy addressed the scientific consensus behind the climate crisis:

“I have a choice of believing the 98 percent or the 2 percent,” Kennedy said. “If you believe my 98 percent and we go ahead and try to reduce our carbon, we’ve gotten rid of the dirty fuel, we’ve made ourselves energy independent, improved our national security, improved our prosperity and quality of life and health for American citizens. If we believe Mr. Blankenship and his 2 percent, and they’re wrong, the whole of civilization is destroyed.”

The second noteworthy exchange occurred on the issue of mountaintop-removal mining. Kennedy directly asked Blankenship:

“My question to you, and I know you’re an honest person, I want to ask you this question: Is it possible to do mountaintop removal mining without violating the law?”

Blankenship responded:

“I doubt it’s possible without having a single violation at a single time,”


"Murkowski's Mischief" January 28, 2010 : 6:03 PM

The New York Times editorial page last week wrote:

“Senator Lisa Murkowski’s home state of Alaska is ever so slowly melting away, courtesy of a warming planet. Yet few elected officials seem more determined than she to throw sand in the Obama administration’s efforts to do something about climate change.”

“As part of an agreement that allowed the Senate to get out of town before Christmas, Democratic leaders gave Ms. Murkowski and several other Republicans the chance to offer amendments to a must-pass bill lifting the debt ceiling. Voting on that bill begins this week. Although she has not showed her hand, Ms. Murkowski has been considering various proposals related to climate change — all mischievous.”

We need to stop Lisa Murkowski’s attempt to gut the Clean Air Act cold in its tracks. That is why, if you haven’t already, I urge you to write your Senator today.


Innovation and Insulation January 29, 2010 : 3:05 PM

Last week at the Huffington Post, Bill Gates asked the following question:

“Should society spend a lot of time trying to insulate houses and telling people to turn off lights or should it spend time on accelerating innovation?”

The fact is we need to do both. Innovation is essential, and Gates is absolutely correct when he writes:

“To achieve the kinds of innovations that will be required I think a distributed system of R&D with economic rewards for innovators and strong government encouragement is the key. There just isn't enough work going on today to get us to where we need to go.”

We need massive investment, by both the private sector and the government, in green energy technology. This is one of the reasons it’s so important that the Senate act immediately to pass the clean energy and green jobs bill. And I’ve long said, we need to change laws, not just light bulbs. However, with the climate crisis unfolding at a rapid pace, we cannot sacrifice immediate and easily achievable gains in energy efficiency. Right now we need to put our energy behind every possible solution to this crisis. There is no reason we can’t walk and chew gum at the same time if the will exists.


It's Official: 2000s Were the Hottest Decade on Record January 29, 2010 : 6:34 PM

Over the past few weeks, climate deniers have tried to promote a number of pseudo-scandals as evidence that the Earth is not warming. However, once again their assertions are contradicted by the facts:

“NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) released its final report on 2009 surface temperatures Thursday, concluding:”

“2009 was tied for the second warmest year in the modern record, a new NASA analysis of global surface temperature shows. The analysis, conducted by the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York City, also shows that in the Southern Hemisphere, 2009 was the warmest year since modern records began in 1880….”

“January 2000 to December 2009 was the warmest decade on record. Throughout the last three decades, the GISS surface temperature record shows an upward trend of about 0.2°C (0.36°F) per decade.”

There is no doubt the planet is warming. Those trying to make the case that the climate crisis is not happening simply do not have the facts on their side.


The Right Political Move January 31, 2010 : 5:09 PM

Here are some amazing results from the Allstate/National Journal/Heartland Monitor poll:

Even more amazing is how Cap-and-Trade was described:

"A cap and trade system to address climate change by allowing government to set limits on the total amount of greenhouse gases that can be emitted nationally."

As Climate Progress pointed out:

“That’s right, people were asked about what is widely considered to be a straight political loser — “cap and trade to address climate change” — with no mention of the many benefits of the bill that typically poll far better — increasing energy independence, generating clean energy jobs, and reducing pollution.”

They go on to note:

"Poll after poll makes clear this bill is a winning political issue:"

"1. Swing state poll finds 60% “would be more likely to vote for their senator if he or she supported the bill” and Independents support the bill 2-to-1 (9/09)"

"2. New CNN poll finds “nearly six in 10 independents” support cap-and-trade (10/09)"

"3. Voters in Ohio, Michigan and Missouri overwhelmingly support action on clean energy and global warming (11/09)"

"4. Overwhelming US Public Support for Global Warming Action (12/09)"

"5. Public Opinion Stunner: WashPost-ABC Poll Finds Strong Support for Global Warming Reductions Despite Relentless Big Oil and Anti-Science Attacks (12/09)"

Solving the climate crisis is not only the right thing to do legislatively, it is also the right thing to do politically.


Read This Editorial January 31, 2010 : 6:58 PM

The New York Times hit the nail on the head, writing:

"Washington has been forecasting the likely death of a climate bill with renewed certainty since Massachusetts elected a Republican senator who promised to block pretty much anything Mr. Obama wants. But even before then we were hearing two reasons why a bill could not pass: The Senate won’t have any strength left when it finishes with health care, and the nation cannot afford a bill that implies an increase in energy prices."

"The first reason is defeatist, the second greatly exaggerated. The climate change bills pending in the Senate would not begin to bite for several years, when the recession should be over. The cost to households, according to the Congressional Budget Office, would be small. A good program would create more jobs than it cost."

"The list of reasons to pass a climate bill, on the other hand, is long and persuasive."