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1Sky Policy Update 2/15/10 – Extreme Weather Shuts Down Capitol Hill

Everything in the nation’s capitol took a backseat to two major snowstorms that dumped over 32 inches of snow on DC last week. Congress fell behind and climate deniers took advantage of the storm to stir up baseless controversy. Momentum is still building behind a much-anticipated senate jobs bill, but members of Congress are home this week for the President’s Day Recess, and won’t take it up until February 22. Throughout this week 1Sky organizers and volunteers will be out in force talking face-to-face with their reps and senators about protecting the Clean Air Act and passing a comprehensive climate and energy bill this year.
Snow storms break records, stall progress on the Hill

  • Washington, DC received over 32 inches of snow over the past week, breaking records, shutting down much of the city, and giving us a taste of the impacts of new weather patterns and extreme weather events driven by climate change
  • All House votes were canceled for the entire week; the Senate was closed on Wednesday, with limited business taking place Tuesday, Thursday and Friday
  • Climate deniers are using the storm to perpetuate myths about global warming and the fate of the climate bill
  • Those familiar with climate science however, have noted that the extreme amount of moisture in last weeks’ storms is in fact directly in line with predictions made by climate scientists.

Senate Jobs Bill delayed, vote postponed until after recess

  • The first of at least two jobs bills was expected to be introduced in the Senate early last week, and passed before the recess, but was delayed due to the snow storms as well as difficulties in resolving disagreements among key senators
  • On Thursday, Senators Max Baucus (D-MT) and Charles Grassley (R-IA) unveiled a long-awaited jobs bill with a price tag of $85 billion (subs. req’d)
    • The bill included a number of energy tax credits for biofuels, energy-efficient home improvements, and other measures as well as an extension of the current highway and transit law
  • Just hours after the bill was introduced, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) quickly asserted (to the surprise of many) that he would scale it back to simpler, $15 billion version without most of the energy-related provisions
  • The bill will now be considered after the President’s Day Recess, but no deadline has been set for its passage
  • The New York Times editorial board published this harsh critique of the Jobs bill and process surrounding it:

Climate Bill Still On the Table

  • Key players in the senate released additional statements last week reaffirming that they are moving forward on a bill

Defending The Clean Air Act from House and Senate Attacks

  • Senator Lisa Murkowski’s (R-AK) resolution of disapproval aimed at preventing the regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act is still expected to be brought to the senate floor next month
  • Three similar attacks in the House are being spearheaded by Representatives Ike Skelton (D-MO), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Earl Pomeroy (D-ND). Some co-sponsors of these efforts include members who voted in favor of comprehensive climate and energy legislation last June.
  • Over the recess, 1Sky organizers and volunteers will show members of Congress that it is unacceptable to protect the profits of big polluters like Big Oil and Dirty Coal at the expense of our health and much-needed clean energy jobs.

1Sky Follows Up On Obama Rope Line Debate

Last week, we noted that 1Sky Campaign Director Gillian Caldwell took an opportunistic moment to talk to President Obama on a rope line about “clean coal” and federal priorities. Videotape of the exchange and a blog and follow up letter can be found at the URLs below.

If you missed it, here is the Video of President Obama and Gillian Caldwell talking with a related blog

And here is the new follow up 1Sky letter to President Obama which was delivered last week and copied to several members of his cabinet

Prepared by Julie Erickson and Jason Kowalski from the 1Sky’s policy team. Please direct questions or comments to

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