Sen. John Kerry and Sen. Barbara Boxer introduced the Clean Energy Jobs & American Power Act, which mirrors and in several ways goes further than the climate bill the House passed earlier this year. Also Wednesday, the EPA proposed a rule that would use the Clean Air Act to control greenhouse gas emissions, just as it is used to control many other pollutants: When new power plants and industrial facilities are built or upgraded, they will have to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Here are some of the reactions to the Kerry-Boxer bill:
President Obama said: "I applaud Chairmen Kerry and Boxer for their leadership on comprehensive energy reform. With the draft legislation they are announcing today, we are one step closer to putting America in control of our energy future and making America more energy independent. My Administration is deeply committed to passing a bill that creates new American jobs and the clean energy incentives that foster innovation. I commend Senators Boxer and Kerry for their work and look forward to signing comprehensive energy legislation that addresses this urgent challenge."
Environmental groups mostly praised the bill, to different degrees. Both the National Parks Conservation Association and Carl Pope, the Sierra Club's executive director, called it "an important step," Environmental Defense called it "an important starting point," Environment America's federal global warming program director Emily Figdor called it a "good beginning," The National Wildlife Federation heralded it as giving "new momentum," The Nature Conservancy's Director of US Climate Policy, Eric Haxthausen said it "fires the starting gun," and NRDC President Frances Beinecke called it "the right step at the right time," while Center for Biological Diversity executive director Kieran Suckling called it just a "baby step." WWF summed it up by saying that the bill "brings the country on a path towards modern and ambitious legislation but its targets remain too weak to tackle dangerous consequences of climate change."
Environmental groups praised its potential for:
Pope said: "Millions of jobs could be created here if only the U.S. were to invest wisely in clean energy, innovation and efficiency. This bill can build our clean energy economy and not let polluters get away with their dirty business-as-usual ways. Global warming is a very real threat to our national security. As catastrophic weather events increase over time, our world will see more climate refugees masses of people forced to move, causing clashes over borders and dwindling resources like food, fuel and water. A strong clean energy bill is essential to protecting our security."
Friends of Earth credited the Senators for "their dedication" but criticized the bill for these reasons (in the group's words):
Greenpeace largely echoed those concerns, criticizing the bill for failing to "commit the U.S. to meaningful, science-based greenhouse gas emissions reductions needed to protect us from runaway climate change."
The Center for Biological Diversity's Kiernan also said the bill falls short of what's needed: "While the Senate bill recognizes the absolute necessity of stronger emissions reduction targets, the targets in the Senate bill like those in the House bill are woefully inadequate. This legislation would not save the polar bear and numerous other species and ecosystems because it simply does not go far enough quickly enough."
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