Last Friday Sen. Kay Hagan co-signed a letter urging Sen. Reid to move climate and energy legislation to the forefront of debate. Here at the Sierra Club we've been pushing Sen. Hagan to actively support this legislation and we're proud she decided to act now. The letter was crafted by Sen. Tom Udall(D-NM) and was co-signed by 22 democrats. The group was rather diverse, it included a number of moderates including Begich, Tester, Stabenow, and Cantwell and some coal state democrats who had previously raised doubts about the legislation.
The letter mainly focused on the economic growth that climate and energy legislation could spur. Udall writes...
“Our lack of a comprehensive clean energy policy hurts job creation and increases regulatory uncertainty throughout our economy”, “Businesses are waiting on Congress before investing billions in energy, transportation, manufacturing, building and other sectors. … We need to take action in order to lead the emerging sectors that will drive our economic recovery.”
If we plan on passing comprehensive legislation that draws bi-partisan support, this language will be critical.
The Kerry, Lieberman, Graham bill is expected to be rolled out over the next few weeks. Although the bill will include a cap and trade provision, it will likely face fierce opposition from Sen. Dorgan and his followers who support an "energy-only" bill. An "energy only" bill is simply a waste, by not implementing a strong policy to reduce our emissions we will fail to create a real incentive that delivers alternative energy sources and new jobs to our economy. Sen. Hagan and the 21 other co-signers realize this and through their continued leadership we can pass comprehensive legislation that limits our emissions.