Both literally and figuratively things are heating up. First, of course, there is the fact that last winter was overall, despite several winter storms, the warmest on record. So it’s good to be able to report that, according to Gretchen Wieland of Repower America, things are also heating up on the legislative front with the Senate energy bill from Senators Kerry, Graham and Lieberman scheduled to debut later this month.
As Wieland explained to me during a telephone call, this means that the activities of the two organizations that make up Repower America, the Alliance for Climate Protection and the Climate Protection Action Fund, are heating up as well. They have a lot of work to do to educate voters and build support for strong clean energy legislation.
In Missouri this means that for the last thirty-four days staff have been coordinating volunteers to make daily visits to one or another of Senator Claire McCaskill’s Missouri offices. The goal is not only to persuade the Senator to support strong energy legislation, but to urge her to take a proactive role in helping to shape it when it is considered in the Senate. This effort will continue until Earth Day on April 22. Undaunted by McCaskill’s recent skittishness when confronted with the possibility of EPA emissions regulation or cap-and-trade legislation, Repower America is hoping that McCaskill will do the right thing once she “does the numbers” and is convinced of the economic benefits of clean energy for Missourians.
Repower America staff have also been organizing educational meetings with local groups, small business people, and staff from state agencies such as the Bureau of Agriculture to explain the goals of the legislation, and to counter some of the misconceptions that some of our Missouri Republican “cap-and-tax” bamboozlers have been trying to spread. Voters have to support clean energy – it’s a rare congress person who’ll go out on a limb to support unpopular legislation.
But Repower America can’t do it alone – they could use your help. The plan is for this intense bout of lobbying to culminate with a massive call-in event starting April 20 and lasting until Earth Day on the 22nd. Anybody can call the Repower America office during this time and be patched through to their Senators’ offices. The number to call is 1-877-9-REPOWER (9-737-6937).
Repower America is, of course, aware of the rumors that the Senate bill is full of “bipartisan” compromises that could hobble its effectiveness. Wieland stated that their analysts will go into action the minute that the bill is is released, pouring over each line of the content so that the organization can shape its lobbying response accordingly. The goal is to ensure that the final Senate legislation is at least as strong as the ACES (The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009) legislation produced in the House – or that when the bills are reconciled, the most important provisions, real regulation of carbon emissions for instance, are not lost.