Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Energy Reform Newcomers Flexing Their Muscles

Two relative newcomers to the political battles surrounding climate change issues flexed their rhetorical and governmental muscles today, in somewhat opposite directions. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced he will the renewable energy bill his legislature passed Saturday, in favor of an executive order imposing the same requirement that California achieve 33% of its energy from renewable resources by the year 2020. The California Public Utilities Commission estimates that restriction will increase energy construction costs in the state by $115 billion. And, environmentalists believe the governor plans to water down the requirement in his executive order by including nuclear power and hydroelectric power in the definition of "renewable."

Meanwhile, back in Washington, D.C., newly elected Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Blanche Lincoln gave her first speech since being elected to the chair to the National Cattleman's Beef Association, and announced that she will oppose federal climate change legislation as passed by the House unless someone can answer the question how the bill will affect consumer prices for food. She claims the House passed measure places disproportionate burdens on Arkansas, and on the rural poor in particular.
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