The Sierra Club Fights the Right's "Greatest Hoax Ever"
Americans may have voted for change on energy last fall, but unfortunately a handful of Senators treated us to the same old song and dance this week. It's been a week of procedural ups and downs with most of us getting a fresh lesson in the not-so-fresh Senate rules on filibusters, colloquies, quorum calls and other arcane terms you may have last come across on your 11th grade civics exam.
You know what Rule 22 is, right?! Well, be rest assured that Senators Pete Domenici and James Inhofe -- both icons of energy idiocy -- do. You see, Sen. Domenici was cranky that his cynical ploy turn the 15 percent by 2020 Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) into a so-called "Clean Portfolio Standard" encompassing oh-so-green coal and nukes was soundly defeated. So, he invoked Rule 22 and put the RES on the slow boat to filibuster city.
Unwilling to bow to a good old fashioned "coot-off" with Sen. Domenici, the Sierra Club and our champions in the Senate turned our attention to rounding up the 60 votes needed to shut the filibuster down. Seeing that we'd looked high and low and come up with the necessary votes, the opponents of clean energy trotted out their ultimate weapon -- Sen. James "greatest hoax ever" Inhofe. He invoked even more arcane Senate rules and essentially held the bill and all of its amendments hostage until it was too late for a vote on over 100 of the amendments offered by both parties -- including the RES. Due to the Senate's tight schedule, this maneuver effectively killed the RES for now.
A temporary setback for sure, but with the Senate leadership and the American people firmly on our side, we shall live to fight another day! Fortunately, we racked up a huge win on CAFE-- the first in three decades.
And here you thought the rules of cricket were hard to understand?