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July 23, 2010 12:04 AM UTC

Bennet, Udall Playing Key Role in Energy Legislation Debate

  • by: Colorado Pols

You may have noticed from the two ads currently running on Colorado Pols that energy legislation is now the key topic on Capitol Hill. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid today outlined what looks to be the legislation that will be discussed next week, and both Colorado Senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall have played a significant role in the process.

First, Reid’s remarks after today’s Senate Democratic Caucus meeting:

“We have a responsibility – both to our constituents and our children – to take on America’s energy challenge. Many of us want to do that through a comprehensive bill that creates jobs, breaks our addiction to oil and curbs pollution.  Unfortunately, at this time not one Republican wants to join us in achieving this goal. That isn’t just disappointing.  It’s dangerous.

“So, the President, Senator Kerry, and I will continue to reach out to Republicans and work with the environmental and energy community to garner the support needed to move forward on a larger bill. But Republican political calculations don’t change our obligation to lay the foundations of a safer and stronger future. So in the coming days we’re going to introduce a solid four-part bill.

“One, we will hold BP accountable. We will ensure it pays to clean up its mess, and we will put forth measures to prevent a disaster like this from ever happening again. Two, we will create clean-energy jobs across America. Home Star is a bipartisan energy efficiency program that will not only lower consumers’ energy costs, but create American jobs that can never be outsourced. Three, we will lessen our dependence on oil.

“And fourth, our country is blessed with abundant resources and we must tap into those. That is why we will invest in the manufacturing of natural gas vehicles. We will protect our environment by investing in the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Doing so now will help ensure our land and water is protected long into the future – even from the effects of climate change. [Pols emphasis]    

“To be clear: we are not putting forth this bill in place of a comprehensive bill. But we will not pass up the opportunity to hold BP accountable, lessen our dependence on oil, create good paying American jobs and protect the environment.  I’m disappointed in my Republican colleagues, who again find themselves on the wrong side of history. But as we work through our differences on a comprehensive energy bill, Republicans have an immediate choice to make.  

“They can join with us to pass these simple, straight forward bipartisan measures to hold BP accountable, lessen our dependence on oil and create jobs, or they can continue to protect big oil companies and kill job growth in America.”

Bennet and Udall have been in the thick of many of these discussions, and earlier this week Bennet sent a letter to Reid requesting that the Land and Water Conservation Fund — which is already paid for from oil & gas leasing revenue — receive full funding in the proposed energy bill. Congress has traditionally siphoned off for other projects the money meant for the Land and Water Conservation Fund — money which funds national parks and other recreation areas open to the public, such as the Sand Dunes National Monument, renovations to Steamboat Lake, the Poudre River Trail in Greeley and the Greenland Open Space Trail in Douglas County.

Meanwhile, Udall has long been pushing plans for an amendment in any energy bill that would fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Both Bennet and Udall’s insistence that some oil & gas leasing revenue be used to preserve national parks and recreation areas was apparently critical in ensuring that this issue was not left out of the Senate energy bill.

UPDATE: Udall’s statement on Reid’s announcement after the jump.

Statement from Mark Udall:

Today, U.S. Senator Mark Udall released the following statement after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that he will introduce a scaled-back energy bill focused on creating jobs and preventing another spill like BP’s Deepwater Horizon:

“There are many things to like about the legislation Senator Reid plans to introduce next week.  BP’s disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has revealed dangerous gaps in our ability to respond to drilling accidents.  Senator Reid is correct that any energy legislation we pass should hold BP and other companies accountable.  I’m pleased that he has made it clear today that he will move forward with a bill I helped shape to prevent such a spill from happening again.  This is a step in the right direction.

“I’m also very pleased that Senator Reid intends to include a measure I have advocated for years, which would invest in the Land and Water Conservation Fund – a 40-year-old program that uses revenues from oil and gas development to purchase special land for conservation.  Congress has chronically failed to keep its promise to ensure that as we drill for oil and gas, we also set aside land for hunting, fishing and recreation.  There’s no greater example of the kind of success this program can have than the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado, which was made possible in part thanks to the LWCF.  I’m absolutely certain that Americans will embrace future efforts to conserve our nation’s treasured places when we give this program its due.

“Finally, Senator Reid has also made it clear that we must move forward with incentives to create jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.  Both are critical steps to rebuild our economy and strengthen our national security.

“But while I’m pleased that we are addressing several immediate concerns through this legislation, today is a disappointment.  Despite numerous efforts to reach out and work across the aisle by many Senators – including myself – my Republican colleagues have put politics ahead of our country’s economic future and our national security, and they’re preventing us from moving forward on a comprehensive clean energy bill.

“We’ve seen wake-up calls in the form of the BP oil spill, the economic recession, and the disturbing changes in pollution levels across the country.  It’s time to stand up and act.  We can’t sustain our leadership as a world economic and national power if we let ourselves fall behind China, India and Europe – and it would be a tragedy if we did so simply for short-term political gains.

“I have called on Congress to pass a cap on greenhouse gases that pollute our air and water and to establish a strong renewable electricity standard, among other steps, to secure our position as a leader in the clean energy economy.  And I will continue to fight for such legislation this year.”

More information about Senator Udall’s work to on the BP oil spill and the clean energy economy is available HERE.


25 thoughts on “Bennet, Udall Playing Key Role in Energy Legislation Debate

    1. It’s not completely uncommon, by any means, but sending a letter to the Majority Leader to advocate for a specific policy is significant.

      1. where he went around with a letter claiming to be getting support for the public option, which he then abandoned.  I’m waiting for him to fulfill his promise to reintroduce it and fight for it.

        1. When that’s not at all how it was intended. The energy legislation is a major piece of legislation, and both of our Senators are playing a big role. It’s nice to see when our Colorado elected officials, whatever their names are, end up playing a significant role in a major debate. That’s good for Colorado, however you spin it.

          1. that shows Bennet has any role of consequence whatsoever.

            I hope they do actually do good legislation that does things like “hold BP accountable.”  I also hope they remove the tax breaks for BP that Senators like Bennet supported.

    1. AR sock puppets agree that Bennet’s letter is a hollow shell.  AR would have written an emphatic letter!  With graphics!  And if he didn’t get what he asked for, he would vote against it!

  1. They have worked hard and accomplished quite a bit. With this they look to accomplish some more good. Major kudos to both. This shows what can be accomplished in the Senate when Senators work at it.

    1. …they’ve been amazingly effective.  

      Although, I’m sometimes wondering if Udall isn’t the Democratic flavored version of “Potted Plant” Allard.  Not that anyone could fully replicate PPA’s legend…..

  2. Once again Congress fails to bite the bullet.  And while better than nothing, we won’t see a comprehensive energy bill come up till next session, if at all – after the election.

    With likely Republican gains, HR 2454 (Waxman-Markey) passed on 6/26/09 as may be amended by the Senate is DOA.

    Good time to buy some O & G stock.  

  3. “It’s not completely uncommon, by any means, but sending a letter to the Majority Leader to advocate for a specific policy is significant.” (see above)


    “Dems abandon comprehensive energy legislation” (TPM … http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo

    What other significant things has Bennet managed? Or maybe he forgot to put postage on the envelope?

    1. Wave his magic wand and get more “progressive” legislation passed? Or get his way by whining about it really really loud? The GOP loves it when the they can attack Dems for being radical socialists and have the left attack them for not being progressive enough and minimizing everything they do accomplish at the same time. It’s a win/ win for the GOP.  

      1. at how the Republicans have to “deal with” the Tea Party and it’s extreme views. Well we have our own extreme left that undermines any accomplishments we make as “not good enough”. It’s frustrating to battle something through Republican obstructionism and Conservadems to finally get it passed only to have our own allies deride it as too weak or ineffectual.

        My understanding of legislation is you get something comprehensive passed so you have a groundwork to build upon in later congresses. It’s how Medicare was passed. For some reason that’s not good enough though. Obama and this Congress had to be perfect and because they weren’t people like Romanoff only grudgingly will admit they would have voted for truly groundbreaking legislation like healthcare and financial regulation.

        The next time you hear about how the Republicans have to deal with the Tea Party, think about Romanoff and other like him that let the perfect interfere with the good. We have our extreme too.

        1. I think that can many times actually lead to better legislation. My objection is when they vote as corporate America directs them – that’s not a compromise with the right, it’s capitulation to the banks.

            1. They are both moderately liberal which is what we should expect for Colorado.

              I do think they give the banks and large corporations what they want more often than not when it comes to votes & efforts on amendments. But that’s what you get in the Senate – significant deference to the monied interests.

              1. What if we were able to eradicate all the corporate influx of cash in our political system? The next question would be, should we? Without money as a way of influence what voice do corporations have? How do they make sure legislation gets enacted that works in their favor or politicians get elected that will work for them? Individuals have votes they use to for this purpose, what do corporations and businesses both great and small have if we remove money?

                Again I’m not saying they SHOULD even have a voice, but it does give me pause. I own stocks in a number of companies so feel conflicted about this whole “evil corporate money” idea. I certainly don’t pretend to have all the answers.

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