“Environmental Champion” Boxer Delays Climate Bill Until Fall

This was supposed to be a big week
for action on climate change in the Senate — but it’s ending with
Republicans rubbing their hands in glee as the Environment and Public
Works Committee delays its unveiling of legislation on carbon emissions.

070619_boxer.jpgSenate environment committee chairman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) (Photo: AP)

As Reuters reports this afternoon:

[Environment committee chairman] Barbara Boxer (D-CA) said her self-imposed deadline of early August for finishing writing a
bill to combat global warming has been put off until after Congress
returns from a recess that ends in early September.

"We’ll do it as soon as we get back" from that break, Boxer told
reporters. Asked if this delay jeopardizes chances the Senate will pass
a bill this year, Boxer said, "Not a bit … we’ll be in (session)
until Christmas, so I’m not worried about it."

But Boxer did not guarantee Congress will be able to finish a bill
and deliver it to Obama by December, when he plans to attend an
international summit on climate change in Copenhagen.

Just two weeks ago, Boxer advised supporters of transportation reform to "work with me on my global warming bill" as she called for a quick rescue of the nation’s highway trust fund.

The highway account is expected to run dry in mid-August, sending Congress and the Obama administration scurrying to find $20 billion to keep state-level road projects funded until the end of 2010.

Boxer’s
postponement of a climate debate in her committee may well be an
acknowledgment of the challenge lawmakers are facing to rustle up that
$20 billion by month’s end — especially given that House
transportation committee chairman Jim Oberstar (D-MN) is refusing to budge on his commitment to a new transportation bill this year. The delay in climate may also be driven by the uncertainty surrounding a global pact on emissions reduction.

No matter what, however, the environmental news out of the Senate today is not good.

  • I can’t wait for my fundraising email from celebrities explaining how this is good news.

  • DJB

    You could fill the highway trust fund and reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the same time by raising the federal gasoline tax (it’s such a good idea it has to be political suicide, right?). Of course it would be a shame to NOT raid the highway trust fund for transit, bike, and pedestrian improvements.

    Far too many people aren’t willing to make sacrifices to stop climate change. We think a technological messiah will come down and save us (or we bury our heads in the sand) and we think that no real effort will be required on our part. We vote for mediocre politicians (or don’t even bother to vote) and we get mediocre policy.

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