Liberal activists say good riddance to Kerry-Lieberman climate legislation

By Alexander Bolton, The Hill

Liberal and environmental activists say that Democrats will not suffer in November because of their failure to pass Senate climate change legislation.

Charles Chamberlain, political director of Democracy for America, an advocacy group founded by former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, said liberal voters are happy that a climate bill sponsored by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) was shelved

“The reality is that the base didn’t have a lot at stake in the climate bill,” said Chamberlain.

“After the BP disaster, all we’ve heard from our members, the No. 1 issue is climate change and offshore oil drilling and oil,” he said. “But we polled our members about whether we should be fighting for the bill and it wasn’t even close. The answer was no.”

Frank O’Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch, a liberal environmental advocacy group, said the Kerry-Lieberman bill was full of gifts to the oil, coal and nuclear industries.

“The way they were going to give away free emission permits instead of set up an auction system, which [President] Obama had campaigned on,” said O’Donnell. “That was massive giveaway.”

Kerry and Lieberman had also agreed to expand offshore oil and natural-gas drilling before the BP spill made such a concession politically unpalatable.

“They weren’t going to step up to big oil; they were in lockstep with big oil until the disaster hit,” O’Donnell said.

Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, criticized the Kerry-Lieberman as a policy cave-in to energy companies. He urged Senate Democrats to pass a strong bill regulating offshore drilling.

“Given that the energy bill was already a big capitulation to polluters, the failure to move it will not exacerbate the enthusiasm gap that was already there due to it’s underlying lamene Move to Trashss,” Green said. “If Democrats don’t pass a gold-standard bill cracking down on polluters after the BP disaster, that’s plain political malpractice.”

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