Senator Claire McCaskill tweets to weaken ACES (updated)

Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri is calling for a further weakening of the American Climate and Energy Security Act (ACES) that passed out of the House last week. Of course, that’s not what she calls it. Sen. McCaskill twittered last week:

I hope we can fix cap and trade so it doesn’t unfairly punish businesses and families in coal dependent states like Missouri. (emphasis mine)

I can’t help but wonder what happened to the Senator who dared mention that oil prices shouldn’t be allowed to fall too far at the Rocky Mountain Roundtable, Session 2, Part 3, during the DNC:

There’s a certain reality here that it is important that we don’t get gas too cheap again, and I certainly agree with what [Randy Udall] said. We will never see the days of… when people are pumping $1, $1.50 gas again. And that may not be an all bad thing because it will motivate the politics on this issue to the forefront so we have a sense of urgency.

Lest you think I’m casting dispersions here, not only was I one of only a few obvious press in attendance, but here’s the audio in question. I apologize for the audio quality – I’m hardly a professional sound person.

A more cynical person than myself might make me wonder if Sen. McCaskill’s complaint about ACES is more because coal mining giant Peabody Energy, headquartered in Missouri, supported her election to the tune of $5,000 in direct PAC contributions (equal to former Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska and fellow Missouri Senator Christopher “Kit” Bond). Given that’s a paltry sum compared to the donations she’s received from most other sectors, perhaps not.

Perhaps, though, it’s fair to wonder if Sen. McCaskill would have had the courage to criticize coal had coal prices spiked equivalently to oil prices last summer….

UPDATE: There has been some criticism of Sen. McCaskill for her comments about the ACES cap and trade provisions. Here’s a few links to sites that have also taken her to task for her call to weaken it even further:

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Chris Bowers of OpenLeft on AlterNet

3 replies »

  1. … A cynical person might think you view this as a weaking of the bill because you don’t care about high energy costs or shipping or jobs overseas. Perhaps Claire opposes this because she cares about her constituents being harmed for no measureable benefit to the climate.

    • Willie, I have a larger home in an area that needs significant amounts of heating in the winter and electricity for cooling in the summer, and the bulk of my electricity is produced by coal. I work in an industry that is an energy hog and could be seriously affected by this legislation to the point that supporting it could actually cost me my job down the road. I have some access to public transportation, but not good access. I have two young children who need to be transported all over the place. Suggesting that I don’t care isn’t going to get you very far with me.

      I’ll be the first to admit that ACES isn’t great, and I’m not sure if it’s better or worse than nothing – I’ve blogged about this very thing here previously. But the solution is to strengthen it so it has teeth, not weaken it further.

      And as for jobs and energy costs, I recommend you read the cost analyses from the CBO and EPA – both estimate that the costs are minimal (< $15 per month per household, IIRC), and both neglect to include the benefits from reduced GHG emissions. Finally, off the top of my head I can think of at least three studies out in the last year that have showed that transitioning to a green economy will actually create jobs.