Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Climate forecast for Congress -- whirlwind activity and sporadic showers of money

ClimateWire via the New York Times gets our "Headline of the Day".
Here's the story:

From the halls of Congress to the desks of businesses and environmental groups, climate change is spurring a lobbying frenzy.

In the first quarter of this year alone, dozens of companies have doubled the money paid to hired advocates pushing a particular point of view about global warming. From groups without deep pockets, advertisements, numerical analyses and white papers are flying around the nation's capital to influence lawmakers on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

"Everyone and their sister is knocking on my door," said Rep. Frank Upton (R-Mich.), who sits on the committee, which is considering draft legislation from Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Edward Markey (D-Mass.) mandating cuts in greenhouse gases. The bill could touch virtually every corner of the economy by requiring emission reductions 83 percent below 2005 levels by 2050.

The exact dollar amount spent on climate advocacy in the first quarter of 2009 is unknown, since groups aren't required to mention the subject on official documents filed in the U.S. Senate. They also can bundle issues on federal lobbying forms. The utility Southern Co., for example, spent more than $3 million in the first quarter pressing lawmakers on about 10 topics, including the Waxman-Markey proposal and "coal ash regulation"....MORE