Thursday, June 23, 2005
Bad news first. Industrial polluters have won the Senate's blessing to befoul the atmosphere as they will, without constraint, without liability, and without regard for the consequences, immediate or eventual, to human health and safety:
The Senate soundly defeated a proposal Wednesday for mandatory reductions in heat-trapping pollution that may be warming the Earth. Supporters managed to get five fewer votes than they did two years ago.Now the good news. The skies above us will no longer be choked with the black, deadly residue of burned American flags:
The proposal to cap greenhouse gases at 2000 levels, within five years, lost by a 60-38 vote. It was a victory for President Bush's policies that focus on voluntary actions by industry to address the problem . . . .
Senators rejected, by 52-45, an amendment to a broad energy bill that would have allowed governors to veto a federal permit for [a natural gas] terminal because of state concerns about safety or environmental harm.
A constitutional amendment that would allow Congress to ban flag burning passed the House yesterday, and congressional leaders said it has a strong chance to clear the Senate for the first time, sending it to the states for ratification.UPDATE: Salon's War Room quotes several Democrats, including Barbara Boxer, Tom Harkin, and Russ Feingold, who voted against the greenhouse-gas amendment despite having supported it in the past. The reason? Pork for the nuclear industry:
"[T]he current version of the amendment includes over $600 million in taxpayer subsidies for the creation of new nuclear power plants," Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold said in a statement. "The nuclear industry is a mature industry that does not need to be propped up by the taxpayers" . . . .
"By subsidizing the creation of new nuclear plants, we are condoning the creation of more waste and turning a blind eye to the hazards associated with nuclear power [said Boxer] . . . . The nuclear industry has already benefited from $145 billion in federal subsidies over the last fifty years. Truly clean and renewable sources of energy, such as wind and solar, have received just $5 billion."