Senate’s Next Climate Hearing to Feature Big Oil-Backed Critics

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) may have voted against the Senate environment committee’s climate bill yesterday, but The New Republic picked up on some pretty optimistic (for Washington) rhetoric from him on the issue this morning:

max_baucus.highres.jpg(Photo: Baucus ’08)

"There’s no doubt that this Congress is going to pass climate change
legislation," he said. "I don’t know if it’s going to be this year.
Probably next year."

Baucus’ Finance Committee became a thorn in the side of progressives during this year’s health care debate, holding lengthy talks with Republicans that ultimately proved fruitless and voting down a public option for the uninsured.

But Finance isn’t all bad news for clean transportation — Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE), transit’s biggest guardian on the environment panel, is a member of Baucus’ committee, as are pro-transit Sens. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Charles Schumer (D-NY). Another Finance member, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), recently signed on to Carper’s plan setting aside 10 percent of future climate revenue for transit.

That said, the witness list for Baucus’ Tuesday hearing on climate change and job creation looks oddly devoid of a "green jobs" representative, from the transit industry or elsewhere.

The International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, part of the AFL-CIO, is testifying and did support the House climate bill that passed earlier this year. Another witness comes from Pacific Gas & Electric, a utility that quit the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to show its belief in the need to act on climate change.

The remaining three witnesses hail from the Nuclear Energy Institute, the American Council for Capital Formation — a clearinghouse of climate critics that has received more than $1.6 million from Exxon since 1998 — and the American Enterprise Institute, which has taken $2.5 million from Exxon since 1998 and offered cash to scientists who would dispute United Nations findings on climate.

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