Chairman’s Mark. Get Set. GO!

J.P. Leous

It’s been another big week for climate champs! Over the weekend the Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) released the much-anticipated Chairman’s Mark of the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act. Unlike the draft bill released in late September, the Chairman’s Mark includes important details regarding how the auction allowances and related funds will be spent (more on that soon). Check out our story for more on the “Mark”.

Starting Tuesday EPW began three action-packed days of hearings on various topics related to the tackling climate change and creating clean energy jobs. Fans of adaptation will be happy to hear there are several witnesses slated to present testimony on Wednesday pertaining to the importance of protecting our natural resources from climate change.

But that’s not all. Tuesday Senators and Adaptation Champs Baucus, Bingaman, Whitehouse and Tom Udall co-sponsored The Natural Resources Climate Adaptation Act of 2009 (S. 1933). What’s the big deal? There’s a few:

  • In terms of policy, this bill will help agencies work together to identify and address climate change’s impacts on natural resources, using the latest science. A Natural Resources Climate Change Adaptation Science and Information Program would be established, co-led by the Dept. of Interior and NOAA. It also creates a National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center to be run by the US Geological Survey. It doesn’t end there. A National Wildlife Habitat and Corridors Information system is also in the bill. The Interior Department would lead this effort, with involvement across federal agencies, states and tribes. In short, this new bill builds off of similar provisions within the House-passed American Clean Energy and Security Act, as well as natural resource adaptation provisions within the Senate bill. Importantly, this new adaptation bill creates a dedicated funding stream (read: not subject to annual appropriations) for important projects on public lands across the country. As you know, these projects can protect and create much-needed jobs and revive the rural economy.
  • In terms of politics, by spearheading this bill Sen. Bingaman, as Chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee (which oversees many of the agencies that manage our natural resources), made protecting our communities and natural resources from climate change a priority. Additionally, the support of Sen.Baucus, Chair of the Finance Committee, and environmental champs Sens. Whitehouse and Tom Udall will help demonstrate deep support for these provisions within the Senate. (And don’t forget about Chairmen Boxer and Kerry who included and funded the adaptation provisions within the Clean Energy Jobs bill!)

The week isn’t over — so expect more news soon!