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Ugh: McCain & Company melting on cap-and-tax

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By Michelle Malkin  •  October 8, 2009 10:41 AM

I said it last month and it bears repeating: Beware the Climate Change Republicans.

Are you ready for the latest signs of capitulation by GOP global warming preacher Sen. John McCain and company?

1) Senate Dems opening to nuclear as a path to GOP support, 60 votes

Key Senate Democrats signaled yesterday they are willing to negotiate with Republicans on nuclear power and expanded domestic oil and gas development if it helps in nailing down the 60 votes necessary for floor passage on a comprehensive global warming and energy bill.

“Every idea is on the table,” said Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.), the lead sponsor of Senate climate legislation. “We’re going to work in a bona fide way with everybody to see how to bridge a gap here. We’ve got to get a 60-vote margin. That means you’ve got to legislate, which means you have to compromise.”

Several moderate Senate Republicans, including John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, said they are in talks with Kerry and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) on the nuclear language, as well as other key issues.

“A guy like Senator Kerry is looking for coalitions,” Graham said. “If you had a bill that would allow for responsible offshore drilling, a robust nuclear power title, I think you could get some Republican votes for a cap-and-trade system.”

2) Lieberman Goes Nuclear on Climate Bill

While he’s no longer a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) has been working behind the scenes to try to woo bipartisan support for a climate change bill this year. Lieberman, who relinquished his seat on the EPW panel after actively campaigning for Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) 2008 presidential bid, is aligning with a group of Senators including McCain, Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.). The Senators are crafting a nuclear energy amendment that they hope will be the key to getting some type of climate change reform approved by the chamber in the coming months. Last week, EPW Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.) unveiled a far-reaching climate measure. But the bill — which is seen largely as a place holder — has few fans. “Do I think the climate change bill is going anywhere? No. But in its ashes are opportunities for bipartisan, incremental reform,” Burr said. Indeed, McCain suggested Lieberman’s amendment could be offered as an alternative way of tackling climate change, rather than the broad Boxer-Kerry bill. “I introduced legislation with Sen. Lieberman in the past twice. I’m certainly not opposed to it,” McCain said.

3) Via Houston Chronicle:

How’s the Senate climate bill going? Republicans hint there might be room for a compromise. “Senate Republicans could be persuaded to support a climate change bill if it includes ‘a robust nuclear power component’ and provisions to expand ‘offshore drilling in a responsible manner,’” Sen. Lindsey Graham tells the Houston Chronicle.

Hey, Sens. McCain and Graham. Cluebat for you: Don’t read the Democrats’ lips. Read their record.

In 2005, Sen. Boxer voted against the McCain-Leiberman bill, specifically because it included nuclear provisions:

“The second step in solving the climate change problem is to increase the use of renewable resources, such as wind and solar. Unfortunately, this is where the McCain-Lieberman amendment doesn’t just fall short, but would be a step backwards. The amendment includes provisions to provide financial assistance to so-called “clean” technologies. On its face, it sounds good. But, the amendment makes nuclear power eligible for these subsidies. Here we go again. The nuclear industry is once again knocking on Uncle Sam’s door asking for Federal subsidies to pad their bottom line. We should oppose the nuclear industry’s latest effort to raid the public purse. Nuclear power is not the solution to climate change, and it is not “clean.” The nuclear industry has not solved its waste and safety problems. By subsidizing the creation of new nuclear plants, we are condoning the creation of more waste and turning a blind eye to the hazards associated with nuclear power.

Proponents of these subsidies say that they are not limited to nuclear power, and that many types of zero or low-emission technologies could benefit. However, the amendment creates an unfair playing field for this assistance by side-stepping the costs of nuclear power’s waste and safety problems. A candid analysis of energy choices must consider the full life-cycle costs associated with each technology. This amendment fails to contain such an analysis. Thus, the amendment unfairly and irresponsibly ignores nuclear power’s biggest problem–the waste. This could easily tip the scales in favor of more subsidies for nuclear plants, and less for other truly renewable technologies. The nuclear industry has already benefited from $145 billion in Federal subsidies over the last 50 years. Truly clean and renewable sources of energy, such as wind and solar, have received just $5 billion.

Moreover, these new subsidies could go to some of the world’s biggest companies. The Top-10 nuclear energy producing corporations in the Nation are among the largest companies in the world. These companies include Duke Energy, Exelon and Dominion Resources, which are among the 200 largest companies in the world. Do these large companies need Federal subsidies? No. These ten corporations earned more than $10 billion in profits in 2004 selling energy from a variety of sources. Subsidies for new nuclear plants are not a sound investment. The Federal Energy Information Administration and a representative of the nuclear industry both acknowledge that nuclear plants are not a viable technology without new subsidies. The EIA has stated that between 2003 and 2025, “new nuclear power plants are not expected to be economical.” Thomas Capps, the Chief Executive Officer of Dominion Resources–which has more than $55 billion in assets–was asked about the economics of constructing new nuclear plants. He said, “I am all for nuclear power–as long as Dominion doesn’t have to take the risk …..” Instead of the nuclear industry taking the risk, the nuclear industry wants the public to shoulder the burden.New subsidies for new nuclear plants are unnecessary. The Department of Energy has shown that we can drastically reduce our Nation’s climate change pollution without increasing the number of nuclear plants. We can and should solve the problem of climate change without increasing the problems of nuclear waste and safety. I wish that I could support the McCain-Lieberman amendment, as I did 2 years ago. But by making the nuclear industry eligible for yet more subsidies, as a matter of principle, I cannot vote for this year’s version.”

McCain Republicans = Charlie Brown.

Democrats = Lucy.

A “reasonable” climate change bill with real nuclear/drilling provisions = football.

Good grief.

***

For a refresher on McCain’s global warming pandering — bring your blood pressure medicine — click here.

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