The ever-unscrupulous electric utility industry is once again working to bring about climate legislation.
Politico reported today that,
Tom Kuhn, president of the Edison Electric Institute, told POLITICO that he has had informal talks about a deal for power companies with White House energy adviser Carol Browner, who brokered the closed-door car deal, and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. “But no in-depth discussions yet,” he said.
About a “car deal” for utilities, Politico reported Glenn English, the president of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and a former Oklahoma Democratic congressman as saying,
“We may be dreaming, I don’t know.”
So as we’ve been saying, just because “cap-and-trade” is dead, that does not mean that the push for climate legislation is also dead. Such advocacy is, in fact, alive and kicking — and it’s a real threat because:
- While congressional Republicans can be counted on to oppose “cap-and-trade,” it’s not at all clear what many will do if cap-and-trade is re-branded as, say, “clean energy” or “kumbaya energy”; and
- Electric utilities and renewable energy interests will no doubt throw all sort of campaign cash at Republicans looking to be re-elected in 2012.
Keep in mind that the conventional wisdom in January 2009 was that cap-and-trade was a done deal given a popular new Democrat president and Democrat-controlled Congress. Nevertheless, cap-and-trade failed. Now, conventional wisdom is that nothing like cap-and-trade could ever get through a tea party-infused GOP-controlled House.
Somewhat disturbing in the Politico report is this quote from an unidentified “senior House GOP aide close to the Energy and Commerce Committee”:
“I don’t think a deal between industry, the utilities and the Obama administration that most likely would lead to higher utility prices for the American consumer is a deal that House Republicans would be comfortable with. But certainly, we’d have to take a look before making that determination.” [Emphasis added]