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Murkowski resolution fails, 47 to 53

Lisa Murkowski's resolution blocking the EPA's authority to regulate carbon failed in the Senate today, 47 to 53. Six Democrats crossed over: Mark Pryor, Evan Bayh, Ben Nelson, Jay Rockefeller, Blanche Lincoln and Mary Landrieu. Some people were surprised that Bayh crossed, but I'm not. He's retiring, but his votes will reflect on Brad Ellsworth, who's running to replace him, so he's going to stick with the state's most important interests. Zero Republicans voted against Murkowski.

So the good news, I guess, is that Murkowski's resolution went down. The bad news is that in a 60-vote Senate, it's hard to imagine a climate bill, or even a mere energy bill that does something about coal-fired plants, getting through.

By Ezra Klein  |  June 10, 2010; 4:30 PM ET
Categories:  Climate Change  
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OK what about the budget reconciliation process. It seems to me that cap and trade would raise revenue, so it could be budgetary (and a carbon tax even more clearly so). I think it depends on what the budget resolution said. All I really know is that I don't know, so I'm asking you.

Posted by: rjw88 | June 10, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

shale gas, ezra. come on, baby

Posted by: jackjudge4000yahoocom | June 10, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

I hate to say I told you so, but come on! How could you have thought anything was going to pass? The thing to do is push for more funding of research into adaptation and geoengineering -- it is inevitably going to be needed.

Posted by: AZProgressive | June 10, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

@Ezra -- Do you really want the EPA involved in areas not conceived of when the Clean Air Act was approved? Do you really want bureaucrats, over which you have no control, deciding regulations on which they may choose arbitrarily?

If you want to strengthen or tighten the allowable emissions from coal- fired power plants, then advance those policy proposals. To the extent that there are "grandfathered" coal plants, institute fees and penalties on them, first.

Posted by: DocForesight | June 10, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

The only way a climate bill is going to pass in the Senate is if the EPA threat is real. So, this is really good news.

Posted by: mschol17 | June 10, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Mark Pryor, Evan Bayh, Ben Nelson, Jay Rockefeller, Blanche Lincoln and Mary Landrieu. That's a role call of fake democrats who are part of the corporate toolbox.

Posted by: bizecology | June 10, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Lincolns vote is more proof Obama is not a progressive. Why else support her reelection knowing she will oppose his "stated" goals?

Posted by: Lomillialor | June 10, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps we should all reconsider elimination of the filibuster: too bad that Dick Durbin has announced that the Social-Democratic Party no longer favors filibuster modification.

I wonder what prompted the reversal of the SDP's position?

Posted by: rmgregory | June 10, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse

"Lincolns vote is more proof Obama is not a progressive"

Obama is a progressive the way most politicians, especially those that rise to high elective office are: pragmatists progressiveness. They operate politically first, with the presumption that there will always be a time to move a real agenda forward at some future time. And, anyway, this is something, which is better than nothing, so . . .

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | June 10, 2010 8:55 PM | Report abuse

I think the best chance for climate change is now for the EPA to come out with some draconian regulations banning carbon emissions (since the EPA can't do a market based solution). The timing should be after the mid-term elections. Then industry will start demanding a senate bill (that overrides the EPA).

Posted by: Levijohn | June 10, 2010 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Yep, I don't think the EPA regulating carbon is the best solution, but it's *a* solution, and I'll take something rather than nothing. If this makes a comprehensive bill more likely, then all the better.

Posted by: MosBen | June 10, 2010 10:40 PM | Report abuse

So I don't really get why progressives are so down on the prospect of EPA carbon regulation. At this point we all realize that any energy/climate bill that gets through the Senate will be horribly compromised, largely crafted by lobbyists, subject to whatever "death panel"-style lies the right wing comes up with, and almost certainly fall far short of what you need in order to stop warming.

Or you can have a policy written by people who know what they're doing, and are legally mandated to do it right. So what's the attraction of a Congressional policy?

And EPA can ABSOLUTELY do a market-based mechanism if it wants to. It used exactly that emissions trading structure to regulate acid rain (

The only real obstacles to effective EPA regulation are: 1) it's not clear that EPA has the authority to "tailor" its regs to big polluters the way it wants to; 2) old plants can currently get grandfathered in. Instead of diving into a new political fight that will be hugely damaging to the environmental movement while SIMULTANEOUSLY creating bad policy, why not just tighten up the CAA on these points?

Posted by: NS12345 | June 11, 2010 8:35 AM | Report abuse

CATScans for anybody who voted for it. To see if they have any working braincells.

Posted by: WDRussell | June 11, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

There is no coherent center today. Bill (Bond Market) Clinton and Obama worked to save Blanche (chamber of commerce) LIncoln. She is afraid to acknowledge global warming and would vote against the progressive cause if re-elected. Right now, it looks like Clinton and Obama have put Boozman into the Senate and made the stupid decision to spit in the face of labor and progressives. They will come to rue the day.

If Obama doesn't fire Salazar soon and stop cozying up to Tony Hayward, he will deserve and get a bad beating this fall.

Posted by: bobsnodgrass | June 11, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

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