Twenty environmental groups on Friday issued a statement praising the headway on a climate and energy package from Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), while noting that there are still many details to be worked out.
"Their stated goal and commitment to a 17% reduction in carbon pollution by 2020 and an 80% reduction by 2050 represents the leadership needed by the US Senate to create jobs, increase energy security, reduce carbon pollution and protect public health," said the groups. "Legislative details are important, and are not settled yet, and we will be working closely with the senators, their staffs and others to make sure these details achieve the goals."
Kerry briefed a small group of leaders from big green groups on Thursday evening, though they had little to say about the details of the legislation. Industry groups also got a briefing on the details earlier in the week, and the Chamber of Commerce's head lobbyist, Bruce Josten, told reporters after the meeting that he believes the bill will be "largely in sync" with industry's requests. The Chamber and other industry groups, like the American Petroleum Institute, who opposed previous climate and energy packages have been making positive noises about this latest legislative effort. Their involvement in shaping the package has made plenty in the environmental community nervous, though at this point most recognize it as the only hope for getting to 60 votes this year.
Details that have emerged so far include the targets noted above, and that the bill would target a limited portion of the economy. Utility regulations would begin in 2012, and other major sources would be phased in beginning in 2016. Transportation fuels will be covered by a fee on carbon, rather than included in the cap, and state and EPA limits on emissions would be preempted.
Here are the 20 groups issuing today’s statement: The Alliance for Climate Protection, Environment America, Sierra Club, League of Conservation Voters, Environmental Defense Fund, National Wildlife Federation, Blue Green Alliance, Natural Resources Defense Council, Center for American Progress Action Fund, Union of Concerned Scientists, National Tribal Environmental Council, Environment Northeast, National Audubon Society, Interfaith Power and Light, Conservation International, Defenders of Wildlife, Clean Water Action, The Wilderness Society, Climate Solutions, Green for All, and the Environmental Law and Policy Center.