Barbara Boxer Archives - Shopfloor

A Morning Without Carbon Pollution is Like a Morning …

By | Economy, Energy, Global Warming, Regulations | No Comments

Got up and opened the window to a bright and beautiful morning, took a deep breath and exhaled carbon pollution.

Watered the plants on the window sill, applauding my courage because that greenery had been consuming so much carbon pollution it was bound to be toxic.

Forgot to reset the toaster and burnt the toast. Had to scrape off the carbon pollution, but it was still edible.

Took a shower, creating the most potent greenhouse gas known to man, water vapor. Breathed a sigh of relief, knowing it wasn’t carbon pollution. But then felt bad about breathing.

In other serious lines of argumentation, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), March 31, Congressional Record, Page S2013:

Jeez. Carbon dioxide causes strokes? Now I feel really guilty.

Demanding Accountability on the Drilling Moratorium

By | Energy, Regulations | No Comments

A news release from three Senate Republicans: “EPW GOP Members Want Hearing on Browner’s Editing of Moratorium Report“:

Washington, D.C.-Senators James Inhofe (R-Okla.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), and David Vitter (R-La.), Republican Members of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, demanded openness and accountability from Carol Browner, the President’s top climate change policy official, and architect of the Obama cap-and-trade agenda. 

Inhofe, Barrasso, and Vitter called on EPW Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) to hold a hearing on findings by the Interior Department’s Inspector General that an official in Browner’s office edited the Interior Department’s report on the Obama Administration’s Gulf drilling moratorium.  The official edited the report to say that independent scientists who reviewed it agreed with the moratorium when in fact they did not. 

In 2008, Sen. Boxer convened a hearing examining allegations that Bush White House officials interfered with decisions at the Environmental Protection Agency and the Center for Disease Control. Senators Inhofe, Barrasso, and Vitter strongly urge Sen. Boxer to pursue similar oversight of Carol Browner and her staff. 

Hat tip: Michelle Malkin. Also here.

Earlier at Shopfloor …

Mickey Kaus Makes the Case for the Health Care Bill

By | Health Care | No Comments

Mickey Kaus, a reform-minded Democrat and commentator from California, congratulates Congressional Democrats for passing the health care legislation. From “Not So Sudden Victory“:

Whatever CBO says or doesn’t say, I don’t for one minute believe that the bill’s new, highly subsidized system of insurance “exchanges”– allowing millions of less affluent citizens to gain access to ever-more-complicated medical technology–will “bend the curve” of health care costs downwards or help the nation’s deficit situation. I’d be surprised if even a third of the Democrats who voted for the bill believe it. I suspect most of them support the bill for the same reasons most Democrats do–as a crucial step in preventing trivial and superficial economic contrasts from translating into ultimate and profound life and death decisions.

They–we–know there will almost certainly be a big additional bill to pay down the road. It will be even bigger if, as we can hope and expect, government attempts to restrict potentially useful treatments in the name of economy prove unsustainably unpopular. But it will be easier to pay this bill once everyone is in the same system–when old people can’t argue that their care is being cut in order to insure the young, etc.. We will all be figuring out how to pay for ourselves.

Kaus is challenging Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) in the Democratic primary, running for the sake of argument, as it were. We’ve always appreciated his good humor, abhorrence of cant and reform-mindedness.

Pay No Attention to Senate EPW Vote to Restructure U.S. Economy

By | Energy, Global Warming, Regulations | No Comments

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Thursday voted out S. 1733, the Kerry-Boxer Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act.  The vote was 11-1, with Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) voting no and Republican committee members absent from the vote in protest. (Chairman Barbara Boxer’s statement.)

But pay no attention to the bill that the committee acted on, the 959 pages of vast economic reordering via a cap-and-trade regime, programs, subsidies, regulations, directives, mandates and government. The real action is with the Kerry-Lieberman-Graham closed-door negotiating among staffers and outside interests. Former Vice President Al Gore is counting on the work to “produce a consensus bill before Copenhagen.”

It’s such as a strange process, one that seems to thumb its nose at the public. From “Democrats move on emissions bill“:

Charles T. Drevna, president of the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association, said he does not understand why Democrats are choosing to refine the climate bill outside of the committee.

“I always thought that was the chore of the committee,” said Drevna, whose industry is receiving just 2.25 percent of free pollution allowances. “It’s frustrating to see for whatever reason — political expediency, the Copenhagen deadline — [the panel] pass something out that all realize has no chance of passage.”

If political expediency means doing what’s necessary to give legislation a marginally greater chance of passage, that’s a good choice. But Tuesday’s election results represented a rejection of bigger government, economic overreach and official hubris. And the response with these legislative parleys is to embrace bigger government, economic overreach and official hubris — but behind closed doors!

More …




Bipartisan Unhappiness with Boxer-Kerry Cap-and-Blanks Bill

By | Energy, Global Warming | 4 Comments

Blanks because there are so many holes in the bill. Accordingly the NAM’s statement from Keith McCoy, vice president for energy and natural resources, features this secondary headline: “Legislation Raises Carbon Reduction Limits, Lacks Specifics on Many Key Elements.”

Jack Gerard, president, American Petroleum Institute, in a blog post offers this political insight about the legislation’s holes:

The Boxer-Kerry climate change bill leaves unaddressed key elements of how it intends to constrain carbon emissions. Unfortunately, it appears to be following the pattern the House followed, which resulted in a political bidding process that picked winners and losers.

And in a news release, Gerard follows by saying, “If the Kerry-Boxer approach mimics the House bill, as early indications suggest, it will undermine our energy security by making American consumers more reliant on foreign sources of refined products, kill jobs and increase fuel costs.”

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN):

These are fancy, complicated words for high-cost energy that sends jobs overseas looking for cheap energy. Instead, we should take practical steps to produce low-cost, clean, carbon-free energy and create jobs. Specifically, we should build 100 new nuclear plants, electrify half our cars and trucks, expand exploration offshore for American natural gas and oil, and double funding for energy research and development.

Good story in The Great Falls Tribune, “Climate legislation worries electric cooperatives.” Here’s a comment from Judith Simonson of Northern Lights Inc. Electric in northwestern Montana we fully endorse: “American businesses have innovative ideas that should be engaged through financial incentives, not mandates.”

We should note that rural electric co-ops represent a usually reliable Democratic constituent group, so there’s doubts and opposition from both sides of the aisle. Note this, too:

John Lewis, deputy chief of staff for Baucus, said it could take more than one session for Congress to approve major climate change legislation, particularly after the drawn out debate on health care.

“It’s the very beginning of what could be a long process,” he said.

A statement from Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV): “The climate legislation proposed today by Senators Boxer and Kerry is a disappointing step in the wrong direction and I am against it.”

In the Clearing Stood a Boxer and a Kerry By His Name

By | General | No Comments

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) held a news conference this morning on the East Front Lawn of the Capitol to announce their cap-and-trade-and-tax climate control bill. (Media advisory) From Sen. Kerry’s news release, “Kerry, Boxer Introduce ‘Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act’“:

This is a security bill that puts Americans back in charge of our energy future and makes it clear that we will combat global climate change with American ingenuity. It is our country’s defense against the harms of pollution and the security risks of global climate change,” said Kerry. “Our health, our security, our economy, our environment, all demand we reinvent the way America uses energy. Our addiction to foreign oil hurts our economy, helps our enemies and risks our security. By taking decisive action, we can and will stop climate change from becoming a ‘threat multiplier’ that makes an already dangerous world staggeringly more so…”

Senator Boxer said, “We know clean energy is the ticket to strong, stable economic growth — it’s right here in front of us, in the ingenuity of our workers and the vision of our entrepreneurs. We must seize this opportunity, or others will move ahead. This is our time. Global warming is our challenge. Economic recovery is our challenge. American leadership is our challenge. Let’s step up right now. Let’s not quit until we have fulfilled our responsibility to our children and our grandchildren.”

Also from Sen. Kerry’s site:

You’ll note the attempt to reframe the discussion through by turning carbon dioxide into “pollution.” (Why not water vapor, also a greenhouse gas.) Cap and trade becomes “pollution reduction and investment.”

So here’s a bill to fundamentally reshape the economy of the United States, render U.S. companies less competitive globally, and reward favored constituencies and what do we get? Marketing…

The NAM will have a statement later in the day.

UPDATE (5 p.m.): Here’s the NAM’s statement. We briefly had it up as a blog post, but since it’s also a news release, no point in duplication.

Boxer-Kerry Cap-and-Trade Bill: Embrace the Blanks!

By | Economy, Energy, Global Warming, Regulations | No Comments

From The New York Times, “Senators’ Climate Draft Mirrors House Bill, With Some Exceptions“:

Both the early draft and the Boxer-Kerry bill due for release tomorrow will leave blank key information about how the senators intend to distribute hundreds of billions of dollars in emission allowances. Following the path of Democratic leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, those figures will come next month when Boxer releases a chairman’s mark of the bill before an EPW Committee markup.

For advocates of the legislation to establish government control over carbon dioxide the overriding concern is not this provision or that, but getting the tax and regulatory regime in place. First, enact the law, and later on you can make the targets, limits and charges more onerous.

Slippage and Deflection

By | Energy, Global Warming | No Comments

Bloomberg, “Senate Democrats Push Back Climate Measure Schedule“:

Aug. 31 (Bloomberg) — The chief Senate sponsors of a bill aimed at curbing global warming have pushed back its introduction from next week until later in September.

Democratic Senators Barbara Boxer of California and John Kerry of Massachusetts, in an e-mailed statement today, cited Kerry’s hip surgery this month, the death of Senator Edward Kennedy and the debate over health-care legislation as reasons for the delay.

More from The Hill here.

Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on Monday, asked about climate change legislation responded by talking about something else.

Q Robert, if you put health care aside for a minute, are there bright spots on the legislative calendar that the White House is looking toward? How is the climate change bill going from the White House’s perspective right now? And anything else that you —

MR. GIBBS: I don’t — in all honesty, I haven’t heard an update yet on where energy legislation is in the Senate. Obviously, Christina, I think a very important date coming up in mid-September marking in many ways I think the date that most Americans in their mind begin to see the real impacts and effects of the deteriorating financial crisis with the collapse of Lehman Brothers. I think a major push from this administration and I think from members on both sides of the aisle on Capitol Hill will be efforts to reform the regulatory mechanisms by which our financial institutions have to operate. I think that will be a very important part of the legislative agenda moving forward in the fall in strong hopes that by the end of the year we have new rules of the road going forward so that something like this doesn’t happen under the same circumstances again.

Why Tort Reform Won’t Be Included in Health Care Legislation

By | Briefly Legal, Health Care | No Comments

The guest speakers at the American Association for Justice’s convention in San Francisco are listed in the brochure for the trial lawyers’ big summer event.

  • Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
    AAJ Pac Eagles Reception — $5,000 PAC contributors
  • Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
    Opening Plenary
  • Governor Tim Kaine of Virginia, Chairman, Democratic National Committee
    Leadership Breakfast
  • Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
    Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA)
    AAJ PAC M Club Luncheon ($1,000 PAC contributors)

Other speakers include Nan Aron of the Alliance for Justice and David Frederick, the lawyers for Diana Levine in the prominent preemption case, Wyeth v. Levine.

Senator Boxer was a driving force for the phthalates ban in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, and Rep. Waxman was responsible for much of the CPSIA overreach. The trial lawyers are very happy with that law.

(Earlier, similar post at Point of Law.)

In Principle, ‘Revenues from the Carbon Market’ Means Taxes

By | Energy, Global Warming, Taxation | No Comments

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, held a news conference today to release her “Principles for Global Warming Legislation.” Choosing the highlight big-picture goals and ideas and good stuff instead of specific legislative language makes good sense as part of a strategy to get a bill passed. No specifics to get torn apart.

But even the principles, broadly stated, are clear enough. No. 5, for example:

Use revenues from the carbon market to:
– Keep consumers whole as our nation transitions to clean energy;
– Invest in clean energy technologies and energy efficiency measures;
– Assist states, localities and tribes in addressing and adapting to global warming impacts;
– Assist workers, businesses and communities, including manufacturing states, in the transition to a clean energy economy;
– Support efforts to conserve wildlife and natural systems threatened by global warming; and
-Work with the international community, including faith leaders, to provide support to developing nations in responding and adapting to global warming. In addition to other benefits, these actions will help avoid the threats to international stability and national security posed by global warming.

Boy, that’s a lot of government programming, spending, redistribution and work with the international community, including faith leaders. Enacting the principles will take billions and billions of “revenues from the carbon market,” which we take to mean a tax on energy production and consumption — whatever form it takes.