Obama's climate push for 2011
By Juliet Eilperin
President Obama hasn't given up on climate and energy legislation altogether, according to a new Rolling Stone interview. He's just going to try for base hits.
In an Oval Office interview with the magazine's editor, Jann Wenner, Obama said he would make passage of "an energy policy that begins to address all facets of our over-reliance on fossil fuels" one of his "top priorities" for 2011.
"We may end up having to do it in chunks, as opposed to some sort of comprehensive
omnibus legislation. But we're going to stay on this because it is good for our economy, it's good for our national security, and, ultimately, it's good for our environment," he said.
While Obama has identified reducing greenhouse gases and promoting renewable energy as among his top priorities in the past, the administration failed to make a major push in the Senate on legislation after the House passed a comprehensive bill authored by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), who chairs the panel's subcommittee on energy and the environment.
The House bill passed on a largely party-line vote, and its backers in the Senate failed to win over any GOP support for a cap on carbon after Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) walked away from negotiations with Sens. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) this spring.
"During the past two years, we've not made as much progress as I wanted to make when I was sworn into office," the president said. "It is very hard to make progress on these issues in the midst of a huge economic crisis."
But when Wenner asked Obama if he would launch a lobbying campaign similar to the one on behalf of health care last year, the president replied: "Yes. Not only can I foresee it, but I am committed to making sure that we get an energy policy that makes sense for the country and that helps us grow at the same time as it deals with climate change in a serious way."
Whether Republicans will sign off on such a program if they make serious gains in November, even if it's done in small "chunks," remains to be seen.
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