Collin Peterson Gets His Way, But Is Now A Great Environmentalist

by: Chris Bowers

Tue Jun 23, 2009 at 23:09

There is a "deal" in the House on climate change legislation. And when I say deal, what I really mean is that that Collin Peterson got every concession he was seeking:

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) on Tuesday surrendered to agriculture interests on a key provision in the massive climate and energy bill he introduced with Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.). Facing a defection from farm-state Democrats, reports that Waxman agreed to change the bill so that "the U.S. Department of Agriculture will oversee the [carbon] offset program for farmers, and the House will seek further guidance from the Obama administration about the appropriate role for the EPA."

Politico further reported that Waxman "agreed to ask the EPA to roll back its new requirements that farmers offset rural land developed in other countries."

Peterson had already won other concessions, including additional emission allowances for rural electric cooperatives. Further, the EPA's ability to regulate carbon dioxide emissions had already been removed in this bill, and now they don't get to determine agriculture carbon offsets either.

Here are some questions to ponder based on this latest news:

  1. How many Senators will be in the Gang to water down the climate change bill? When it comes to passing major legislation, the Senate is always over-run by gangs. For example, a Gang of 18 removed $96 billion in spending from the stimulus, and the famous Gang of 14 preserved the filibuster.

    The question is not "if" there will be a Senate Gang--that much is guaranteed. The real question is how many members the Gang will have, and how much more they want to concede.

  2. How much better is Collin Peterson on climate change than Peter DeFazio? Collin Peterson now says that he will vote for the climate change bill. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) says that he won't, because the bill doesn't do enough. The League of Conservation Voters has said that it will not endorse any member of Congress who votes against the bill. As such, another pressing question is: how much of a better climate change activist is Collin Peterson than Peter DeFazio?
Snark aside, this is precisely why green groups need to b drawing lines in the sand on the contents of the bill, rather than just its passage. Otherwise, gang bangers like Collin Peterson just end up getting whatever concessions they want. And the same thing will happen in the Senate--only much, much worse because of the 60-votte rule.

Further, rather than focusing exclusively on passage, it is a demonstration of why green groups should primarily be going after those who try to weaken the bill, like Collin Peterson, and reward those who try to strengthen the bill. According to the viewpoint that passing anything is what matters most, Collin Peterson is now a better climate change activist than Peter DeFazio. Those who fight to make the bill better don't matter at all.

Chris Bowers :: Collin Peterson Gets His Way, But Is Now A Great Environmentalist

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And this is a pitfall of Obama .. (0.00 / 0)
leaving Congress to their own devices .. in some ways it is admirable(but then Congress also did it do itself under W .. but not exerting itself) ..  and some ways .. like this .. it is not

Farmers, like in the dell? (0.00 / 0)
There is only big ag, the farmer and his wife are long gone.  The big picture is ineffective or sold out Dems...  Fighting this fight by the issue is chasing tails.  There will be no policy until there is accountability.  

Waxman-Markey=Sh*t Sandwich (0.00 / 0)

Great work on this, it's nice to have analysis of the process from someone who hasn't just decided to support this bill.

I fear this mess is going to screw over enviro groups, climate action and the D majority all at the same time.

But at least we're passing something!

Another excellentt piece (0.00 / 0)
you are doing perhaps the best work thinking through political options for strengthening ACES ... thank you.

DeFazio is great (0.00 / 0)
Not only is he willing to stand in the way of the steamroller of shitty bipartisanship, he hasn't had the Kucinich treatment, and is harder to smear as a far-left activist because his district is fairly swingy.

Although for that matter, Kucinich's district is no more liberal than Delaware, and he did have to defeat a Republican to get into Congress, so the complaints that he's too far left have pretty incoherent.

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