Month 4, Day 22: I Never Understood Football, But I Think I Know What “Punting” Means

According to Rollcall:

Democratic leaders are pushing ahead with plans to move comprehensive immigration reform legislation this year — even if it means punting on energy legislation until next Congress.


During the meeting, Reid “reiterated his intention to move forward” this year on immigration reform, one aide said, adding that Pelosi agreed it is a top priority, even beyond energy legislation.

“The Speaker did agree that if faced with a choice between energy and immigration, she’d go with immigration,” the aide said.

However, a House Democratic aide insisted that Pelosi’s comments were aimed only at the timing of the two issues, and that she meant that immigration could advance before energy reform.

So….a letter to Nancy and Harry:

Dear Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid,

I was distressed to read in today’s “Rollcall” that the priority treatment accorded to immigration reform is apparently making it more likely that a comprehensive and robust energy and climate bill will have to wait until after the 2010 elections.

There is not much time left for us to get things done if we are to have a hope of making a difference. Many climatic tipping points have already been passed. Arctic methane is beginning to enter the atmosphere; the oceans are approaching dangerous levels of acidity. Atmospheric CO2 is well above safe levels and climbing. The worst-case Venusian scenarios outlined by Dr. James Hansen have moved out of the realm of wild speculation and are now statistically significant probabilities. And meanwhile, our representatives in government are anxious — about their own political safety.

Let me be clear: there will never be a time when it is “politically safe” to make robust and meaningful climate/energy legislation come to pass. Why? Because the time lag between climate action and climate effect is longer than the elected term of a U.S. Senator, let alone a Representative. Thus, there is no mechanism in our electoral system that encourages longer-term thinking. But this is an explanation, not an excuse.

America and the planet need this bill to be passed; we need it to be comprehensive and robust, and we need it to have regulatory teeth. The lives of our descendants hang in the balance. There is no time to lose; no time to waste. We’ve put off genuine climate action for decades. Don’t put it off again.

Yours Sincerely,

Warren Senders