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Senate Receives Climate and Energy Bill

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Plan includes retooled section on offshore drilling.

Senators John Kerry and Joseph Lieberman finally released their 987-page climate bill, which they hope will be passed as a means to slow down pollution and global warming. The bill was amended in light of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, greatly scaling back the planned expansion of new offshore drilling sites. Despite the support of some utilities and energy companies, it seems unlikely that......read more

Climate Bill Fail

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Thomas Friedman laments a missed opportunity.

Well, it's all but official. According to every major news outlet, the attempt to pass federal climate and energy legislation has failed. Democrats announced Friday they were abandoning the bill, effectively snuffing out any possibility of it passing. But why? After so much hope early in Obama's term, how did the effort to address global warming and reduce our oil addiction die before......read more

California Bummer

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Statewide plastic bag ban voted down by California lawmakers.

Well, that sucks. The Democratic bill seeking to ban plastic shopping bags across California — a measure we at SHFT adamantly supported — failed in the state Senate late Tuesday night. It would have been the country's first statewide ban, although a few California cities already prohibit their use. With the bill's downfall, the state misses an opportunity to be at the vanguard of a......read more

Climate Bill Autopsy

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In The New Yorker, Ryan Lizza dissects the failed attempt to legislate carbon emissions.

In a widely distributed article in The New Yorker this week, Ryan Lizza documents the rise and fall of the climate bill introduced in the Senate by the “tripartisan” trio of John Kerry, Joe Lieberman, and Lindsey Graham ("KLG"). In it, Lizza provides a fascinating and troubling account of the messy legislative process that killed the bill. Entitled "As the World Burns,"......read more

Overhaul of Clean Energy Tax Credits Proposed

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Senate Finance Committee proposal draws split reaction from wind, solar industry groups

The Senate Finance Committee proposed on Wednesday an overhaul of clean energy tax credits, many of them set to expire at the end of the year. The draft, presented by Committee Chair Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), calls for simplifying and extending the messy patchwork of incentives while cutting their $150 billion price tag over the next decade by more than half. The plan would create two broader......read more

Oil Spill Blame Game

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BP, Transocean, and Halliburton execs grilled about 'cascade of failures' at Senate hearings.

In Washington on Tuesday, executives from BP and its drilling partners were grilled by Senators about their companies' involvement in the Gulf Coast oil disaster. The Senate energy and environmental committees set out to figure out how it happened, and who is responsible. BP, Transocean, and Halliburton executives were taken to account by lawmakers for the "cascade of failures"......read more

GOP Offshore Drilling Bill Rejected by Senate

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Dems block measure to to speed up oil leases off the U.S. coast

The Republican effort to expand offshore drilling in country has been turned down by the U.S. Senate. The bill would have opened up more areas to drilling and forced regulators to speed up their decisions on lease permits. The vote was 57 against and 42 for -- 18 short of the 60 "Yes" votes required to move it to the Senate floor. Democrats voted resoundingly against the bill, saying it would ......read more

SHFT Sampler 4-8-11

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Group calls for "bird smart" wind power, Senate thwarts anti-EPA bill, Toyota sells a million hybrids in the US, and more.

For the Birds: The American Bird Conservancy posted a video showing a vulture getting taken out by a wind turbine, part of a campaign calling for "bird smart" design of wind power projects. Hmmm. (via Dot Earth) Phew! In a 50-50 vote, the Senate rejected the GOP's attempt to permanently block the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases. Recycled Rug: The recycled ANY rug from the Piadao Group is......read more

EPA Retains Power to Regulate Emissions

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Senate decision gives boost to President Obama's plans for broader climate legislation.

The U.S. Senate has rejected a proposed measure to strip the Environmental Protection Agency of its power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. The rejected measure, tabled by oil-friendly Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski, would have rescinded the authority of the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. Nicknamed "the Dirty Air Act," the resolution would have passed......read more

Reason To Believe

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In the wake of Copenhagen's failure—and the resignation of the UN climate change chief—a bipartisan Senate bill offers a glimmer of legislative hope.

Those still hoping global leaders will band together in the face of climate change have found little justification for their optimism lately. First, the Copenhagen negotiations were, by most accounts, a spectacular failure. Now the leader of those negotiations, Yvo de Boer, has resigned as Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. For the time being, an......read more

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