President Obama used his high-profile climate change speech Tuesday to try to drive a nail into the coffin of Congress’ relevance when it comes to leading the country, and the world, to a lower-carbon future. One day later, several lawmakers declared that reports of Congress’ irrelevance in the climate change debate had been greatly exaggerated.
A bill that aims to help Maine end its heavy dependence on heating oil was passed into law late Wednesday after the state Senate unanimously rejected Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of the measure. The measure is aimed at expanding New England’s natural gas infrastructure, boosting funding for energy efficiency, lowering businesses’ electricity costs and making it more affordable for residents to abandon oil heat.
President Obama today said that rather than waiting for Congress to act on climate change, his administration would move forward in every way it could — curbing emissions, shoring up American infrastructure and heading “a coordinated assault” abroad on global warming. The president said he chose the venue for today’s speech — a sun-dappled Georgetown University quad — because climate change is a threat to the next generation’s future.
With no chance of Congressional support, President Obama is staking part of his legacy on a big risk: that he can substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions by stretching the intent of a law decades old and not written with climate change in mind. His plan, unveiled Tuesday at Georgetown University in Washington, will set off legal and political battles that will last years.
President Obama is expected to appeal to a cross section of Americans about the perils of rising temperatures and the economic benefits of dealing with climate change in a speech tomorrow that could establish a timeline for regulating carbon at existing power plants. The effort at depoliticizing the thorny topic of climate began Saturday in a campaign-style video in which Obama pointed to different areas of the public that he said can help address the effects of warming. He identified scientists, farmers, engineers and workers as the beneficiaries of an economy that runs on cleaner fuels.
Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) became the newest member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee today. Baldwin was appointed today to fill the vacancy left by Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.). Coons left the committee to take the spot on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee left open by the death earlier this month of Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.)
Houston will buy half its energy from renewable sources, making it the largest municipal purchaser of renewable energy in the United States, according to U.S. EPA. The city agreed to purchase 140 megawatts of renewable power from Reliant Energy between July 1 and June 30, 2015. The city will pay $2 million for what is estimated to be half its annual electricity demand.
An influential federal judge splashed fuel last week on an already-raging argument over states’ clean energy mandates in a ruling that questioned the constitutionality of Michigan’s renewable portfolio standard. Writing for a three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Richard Posner — seen by many as the most important conservative jurist outside the Supreme Court — said that by banning out-of-state renewables from counting toward its renewable portfolio standard, Michigan’s law “trips over an insurmountable constitutional objection.” “Michigan cannot, without violating the commerce clause,” he went on, “discriminate against out-of-state renewable energy.”
A gust of economic development dollars may be blowing into Northwest Iowa, thanks to MidAmerican Energy Co.’s plan to add 656 new wind turbines in the state. Iowa’s largest utility on May 8 announced the $1.9 billion initiative, which represents the largest economic development investment in state history
President Obama is set to provide details tomorrow of how he plans to deliver on his second-term promise of tackling man-made climate change. Obama announced in a video this weekend that he will lay out his climate agenda in a speech at Georgetown University and that it will seek to “reduce carbon pollution, prepare our country for the impacts of climate change and lead global efforts to fight it.”