Most environmental groups are currently arguing that the climate change bill is flawed, but we need to pass it anyway. The basic argument is that the bill can be improved in the Senate, or improved through other legislation after it is passed into law.
However, what no environmental group will tell you is that they are actively encouraging Democrats to vote against attempts to strengthen the bill via amendments on the House floor. And yet, this is exactly what several sources have told A Siegel is happening:
A good number of people have told me in the past few days that major environmental organization is actively working against strengthening amendments to the bill, stating that those groups are fearful that any actual strengthening will keep the bill from being passed.. Sigh, when asked to go on the record, everyone has said no ... But, different people, different offices, separate conversations saying very similar and reinforcing things.
Now, it would be almost impossible to ever get someone from an environmental group on the record stating that they are working against strengthening the climate change bill. Such information would be extremely damaging to any green group if their membership ever found out.
However, working against the strengthening amendments makes sense from the perspective of many environmental organizations. In their view, almost any bill is worth passing. They need to demonstrate some sort of victory to their membership, and that means passing virtually any climate change bill. Many also believe there is no line in the sand, as long as the bill improves us from the status quo by even 1%. As such, anything that improves the chances of the bill passing, including defeating amendments that would strengthen the bill (and thus potentially reduce the number of conservative Democrats who vote for it), actually needs to be defeated.
Maybe there is some merit to their argument, and I will explore that in a later post. However, even if you agree with the groups working against the strengthening amendments, don't ever expect them to admit to in front of their membership or to a member of the press. The contradiction of some environmental groups actually working against attempts to strengthen climate change legislation is the political reality in which we live, and might be too much for many grassroots activsts to swallow.