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Pelosi seeks energy that could move the Senate

United States
The Oregonian
06/08/2010
David Sarasohn

Possibly this is because the House speaker, in Portland on Thursday at an Earl Blumenauer event highlighting an energy retrofitting program, has a fund of enthusiasm that can make most politicians look depressed. At the Clean Energy Works Oregon offices, Pelosi led the applause after every account of insulation technology, and greeted each explanation of alternative energy installation with the same smile of dazzled delight.

But afterward, visiting the energy-retrofitted Northeast Portland home of Peter and Heather Ficht and going down into the basement to inspect their new tankless water heater — House speakers, like presidents, find their jobs include unusual duties these days — Pelosi seemed truly impressed, declaring several times that she wanted one.

The source of her excitement might be that the system, which heats the water as it moves through the pipes, is indeed an impressive expression of energy efficiency, and “When I became speaker, I made it my flagship issue to address climate change.”

But it could also be that coming into the August recess of this Congress, Pelosi was heartened to see any system that doesn’t get clogged up.

Large elements of strategies that Pelosi, Blumenauer and several local panelists talked about Thursday were included in a sizable energy and climate bill passed by the House last December. It took considerable exertions by the speaker and the rest of the Democratic leadership, with a number of junior members casting a vote that they could close their eyes and imagine reproduced in their opponents’ 30-second TV spots this fall.

But nine months later, nobody has become the plumber to get the energy bill, or any significant part of it, moving through the Senate. Last week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that the Senate would limit itself to a small energy measure, focused mostly on oil drilling regulation.

And so far, not even that approach has been showered with success.

“I would not be that discouraged about it,” Pelosi insisted determinedly. “The Senate will produce an energy bill.

“It may not have the same scope as our bill, but it may be more digestible to the American people.”

So far, it looks more like the Senate is on energy legislation fast.

“I don’t speak for them, God knows I don’t,” said Pelosi with a smile that for once looked more rueful than delighted. “We’re known in the House for being bolder. In the Senate, there’s more work to be done.

“We never get discouraged. They just have to find a path that will work for them.”

An energy bill was always third in line in the Senate, after health reform and financial regulation. Like a stacked-up airliner, it couldn’t come in until they landed. That took so long, with the economy slow to improve and the political atmosphere rapidly getting worse, that energy’s chances seemed to evaporate.

In the next Congress, everything starts over, with both Senate and House likely to be less friendly to significant energy and climate legislation. Just how much less friendly will decide everything about Pelosi’s chances of actually passing any legislation reducing carbon emissions, part of the reason her visit to Portland on Thursday — like her trips all over the country between now and November — also included a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fund-raising event.
“Some of it is real,” Pelosi said about resistance to energy action. “Some of it is about big oil industries resisting change. If they wanted change, they could have created it.

“There are those who don’t believe in climate change, and they’ve spent a fortune.”

After the climate legislation experience of the past year and a half, and the prospects ahead of her for the next three months, it’s clear why the speaker would welcome the warm reception from energy planners in Portland. “When I come here,” she said Thursday, “I always know I’m going to see the future.”
And coming from a pond that often looks stagnant, you can see why Pelosi was so impressed by a tankless water heater.

Of course, what she’d really like is an appliance that builds a fire under the Senate.

El contenido de las noticias que se presentan en esta sección es responsabilidad directa de las agencias emisoras de noticias y no necesariamente reflejan la posición del Gobierno de México en este u otros temas relacionados.

    

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