Here’s a howdy-do. The American Clean Energy and Security Act, billed by some as the best opportunity the U.S. Congress has to finally take action to confront global climate change, went through a days-long markup process last week in the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and finally passed the Committee, to go to the floor of the House of Representatives. That markup process involved taking a bill that was already criticized by many people as inadequate and stuffed with extravagant giveaways to polluting industries, and amending it with even more pork barrel industrial spending and impairments of key provisions.
A coalition of environmental organizations that includes Greenpeace USA, Friends of the Earth, Public Citizen, Citizen Power, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Utility Reform Network, the Sustainable Energy and Economy Network, Coal Moratorium Now, the Rainforest Action Network, International Rivers, and the Energy Justice Network has called upon members of Congress to vote against this bill, saying, “Despite the best efforts of Chairman Waxman, the decision-making process was co-opted by oil and coal lobbyists determined to sustain our addiction to dirty fossil fuels, even as the country stands ready to rebuild our economy and clean up the environment with real clean energy. The resulting bill reflects the triumph of politics over science, and the triumph of industry influence over the public interest. Regrettably, we cannot support this legislation unless and until it is substantially strengthened.”
Did these organizations make the right choice, or is it better to accept a flawed piece of legislation to deal with the climate crisis, out of fear that a better bill cannot get through Congress without being ruined as well?