The primary purpose of this blog is to talk about developments impacting the clean energy sector. Although it may not be immediately obvious why the following news matters, we believe it does - greatly.
The partisan battles that have paralyzed Washington in recent years took a historic turn Thursday, as Senate Democrats eliminated filibusters for most presidential nominations, severely curtailing the political leverage of the Republican minority in the Senate and assuring an escalation of partisan warfare.
Saying that “enough is enough,” President Obama welcomed the end of what he called the abuse of the Senate’s advise and consent function, which he said had turned into “a reckless and relentless tool” to grind the gears of government to a halt.
So why does this matter for clean energy? Very simple: because the dysfunctional rules governing the U.S. Senate have long been used as a weapon by allies of the incumbent, fossil fuel sectors. For instance, a simple, seemingly "no-brainer" energy efficiency bill hasn't even been brought to a vote yet, let alone legislation to slash wasteful fossil fuel subsidies, or to implement a comprehensive energy policy that makes sense for our country. Now, after today's events, the Senate appears to have finally begun the process of whittling away at its dysfunction. Of course, there is much more work left to accomplish in order to convert the Senate into something that actually serves the public interest, instead of the interests of polluting industry lobbyists. Still, we should recognize what happened earlier today an important turn of the corner, including for clean energy policy.