Climate Committee Update

Kermit the Reporter

Installment II:  Our Work Thus Far

It has been clear since some of the earliest hearings before the Energy and Environment subcommittee that one of the greatest battles of the Waxman-Markey bill was going to be over whether to auction permits (to emit CO2 and other greenhouse gases), or give them away to industries for free.  Chris Brown had written a letter about climate change, expressing the support of Carrots and Sticks for auctioning 100% of the permits.  (This letter was discussed in the most recent full meeting of C&S).

On the evening of Monday, May 4, Jeremy and the climate committee had a chat session and decided we were going to go down to the Hill with Chris’ finalized climate change letter the next day.  Our targets were Henry Waxman, Ed Markey, and the House delegations from MD and VA (our rationale was that we in Carrots and Sticks at least have some members who vote in those states).  Tuesday afternoon, we dropped off letters to Donna Edwards, Chris Van Hollen, Steny Hoyer, Henry Waxman, Ed Markey, Jim Moran, and Gerry Connolly.  We asked that they be given to the staffers in charge of energy matters.

On Wednesday, I called the offices back, and asked if I could have the names of the staffers to whom the letters had been given.  We assembled a list of names.  The only one I’ve spoken to so far was Tim Aiken, who works for Jim Moran of VA.  He was frank, direct, and helpful, telling me that while Jim Moran was on our side in this issue, the number of Members from coal and oil states on the Energy and Commerce committee made it a given that some permits were going to be given away for free.  (There was a small silence, as of shock, when I told him that we wanted 100% of the permits auctioned, not, I think, because he disagreed with that or because Moran disagreed with it, but because it was so far outside the realm of what was likely to happen).  He also wondered why we were calling him, since Congressman Moran is not on any of the committees involved in this issue, and I told him because some of our members vote in his district.  I also told him that we had noticed a great deal of industry pushback against the climate bill.  He said, “And you want to apply some counter-pressure?”  I said, definitely.  He said that he would ask Moran to talk to his colleagues and urge them to give away less permits and auction more.

We have the names of the staffers who got the other six letters we distributed last week, and tomorrow we will begin trying to get appointments with them.

By the time we had our second online meeting, on Thurs., May 7, Henry Waxman had decided to take the matter out of Markey’s subcommittee, and work out the details of the bill in full committee, which meant we needed to reconsider our tactics.  Jeremy found a whip count of where the various members of Energy & Commerce stood on the bill and we used it to decide who we needed to target in the full committee.  It’s a tough uphill climb that’s before us.  There are eighteen undecided Democrats on the committee, eleven of which need to vote “yes” for the bill to get out of committee.  A lot of those eighteen are either conservative Democrats or Democrats from states with a fairly high economic stake in the industries that don’t like this bill (or both).  These are the “maybes:”

Maybe (18)

John Dingell (D-Mich.)
Rick Boucher (D-Va.)
Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.)
Bobby Rush (D-Ill.)
Bart Stupak (D-Mich.)
Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.)
Gene Green (D-Texas)
Diana DeGette (D-Colo.)
Mike Doyle (D-Pa.)
Charles Gonzalez (D-Texas)
Mike Ross (D-Ark.)
Jim Matheson (D-Utah)
G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.)
Charlie Melancon (D-La.)
John Barrow (D-Ga.)
Baron Hill (D-Ind.)
Zach Space (D-Ohio)
Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.)

And of these eighteen, here’s the ones that I think we have a chance of swaying (this is after doing only a bit of research through VoteSmart and a couple of other sites, so if anybody else knows something about these congresspeople that would lead you to place them in the “swayable” or “unswayable” category, please respond to this post and share your knowledge!):

John Dingell (D-Mich.) 15th District
Rick Boucher (D-Va.) 9th District
Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.) 6th District
Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) 1st District
Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) 1st District
Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) 17th District

Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) 1st District
Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) 14th District

G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C) 1st District

John Barrow (D-Ga.) 12th District
Baron Hill (D-Ind.) 9th District
Zach Space (D-Ohio) 18th District

So, right now, the plan is for Jeremy to print out letters to those twelve Members of Congress, and for us to deliver them tomorrow or Tuesday.  In addition, we need to mobilize people in their districts as much as we can in the time that we have.  Jeremy  thinks (and I agree) that Dingell is probably the pivot point among the undecided legislators, and that a lot of them might follow where he goes, so mobilizing people in Michigan’s 15th District (which starts in the southern part of Detroit and extends all the way to the Ohio state line) would be especially helpful.  I will be reaching out to DFA to see what resources they have in the districts of these legislators, and especially in Dingell’s district.  Meanwhile, all of us in Carrots and Sticks need to use our contacts in the districts of the twelve congressmen and congresswomen we hope to influence.  So take a look at the above list and see if you know anyone in the districts I’ve listed beside our targets.  If you’re unsure exactly where the districts *are*, all you need to do is google the congressman or congresswoman–most of them have district maps on their websites.  I will insert links to these maps into this post later for your convenience if I have time, but in the meantime it should be easy to find them.

That’s the update on where we are in regard to the Waxman-Markey bill.  Onward and upward!



1 comment so far

  1. quake22 on

    “There was a small silence, as of shock, when I told him that we wanted 100% of the permits auctioned not, I think, because he disagreed with that or because Moran disagreed with it, but because it was so far outside the realm of what was likely to happen”

    Yeah, I get that sense too, but it actually costs both ways in that while everybody is talking about less then 100% carbon auctions for the immediate future, there seems to be a large push to eventually have mostly carbon auctions.

    I think this is because people want to use the project revenues for their long term budget projections, but I’m just not sure since in the administration and other plans I’ve seen that money is always dedicated for something other then debt reduction.

    As always I think it’s really important that Congress knows that oil companies aren’t the only ones paying attention.

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