The League of Conservation Voters has thrown down the gauntlet in its campaign to win support for the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES) when it could see a U.S. House vote as soon as Friday.
The politically-potent organization, that has made its endorsement something akin to the Good Housekeeping seal of approval for candidates seeking to position themselves as environmentally sensitive, announced Tuesday that it would not support the reelection of any House member who opposes the measure that it says “has the potential to transform America by creating clean energy jobs, improving our national security, and protecting our planet from global warming pollution.”
In a letter to House members, LCV President Gene Karpinski wrote, “The stakes could not be higher; a safer, healthier planet and a new energy economy hang in the balance, and it’s imperative that members of Congress be on the right side of history.”
That makes it sound as if, for environmentalists, the choice to back this bill is a no-brainer.
There is a significant divide within the environmental community over the measure that is being backed by the Obama administration and House Democratic leaders.
As the LCV was threatening to pull its endorsement from dissenting members, Friends of the Earth launched a campaign to block the bill.”Corporate polluters including Shell and Duke Energy helped write this bill, and the result is that we’re left with legislation that fails to come anywhere close to solving the climate crisis. Worse, the bill eliminates preexisting EPA authority to address global warming–that means it’s actually a step backward,” says FOE president Brent Blackwelder, a veteran campaigner –- who has often been ahead of the curve when issues of economics and the environment are in play.
Blackwelder argues that, “Last November, the American people voted for change. Unfortunately, while the party in power may have changed, the process through which this bill was negotiated makes it clear that the overwhelming influence of corporate special interests has not. This exercise in politics as usual is a wholly unacceptable response to one of the greatest challenges of our time, and it endangers the welfare of current and future generations. Speaker Pelosi and congressional Democrats simply must do better. We are calling on them to vote against this bill unless it is substantially strengthened. If the ‘political reality’ at present cannot accommodate stronger legislation, their first task must be to expand what is politically possible — not to pass a counterproductive bill.”