Massachusetts puts climate bill in peril

MASSACHUSETTS PUTS CLIMATE BILL IN PERIL…. The House passed a climate bill months ago, but in the Senate, it’s been an uphill climb. Efforts have been ongoing, however, and there was hope that the bill would come to the floor in the spring.

Those hopes were largely dashed by Massachusetts voters this week, who not only may have killed health care reform, but also imperiled a bill to address climate change. Bradford Plumer reports:

Brown’s victory means Democrats are down yet another vote for any bill that curtails carbon-dioxide emissions. (Back when he was a state legislator, Brown voted for cap-and-trade, but he’s long since reversed himself, and who knows if he’ll actually tack leftward yet again to keep his seat.) Granted, a Senate climate bill was always going to require a handful of Republican votes, so the fact that Democrats no longer have a supermajority isn’t, on its own, a fatal blow. But there’s also the fact that a lot of swing senators like Evan Bayh are crawling into the fetal position right now and don’t seem inclined to take up any major legislation.

So we’ll see.

In the meantime, some conservative Dems — the ones who aren’t in a fetal position — are poised to make efforts to combat global warming even more difficult. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) has been fighting to strip the EPA of its authority to regulate carbon emissions through the Clean Air Act. Yesterday, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) announced she is not only endorsing Murkowski’s approach, but will help craft the language on what some have dubbed the “Dirty Air Act.”

Advocates of addressing the climate crisis need every congressional ally and vote they can get. Regrettably, a narrow of majority of Massachusetts voters have made it significantly more likely that Congress won’t address the problem at all. Proponents focused on solutions have vowed to “persist,” but Massachusetts has made a difficult situation considerably worse.