Thursday, May 17, 2007

Senate Defeats Climate Amendment

According to A.M. New York,
The Senate, after one of its first full debates on global warming, on Tuesday defeated a proposal requiring the Army Corps of Engineers to consider the impact of climate change in designing water resources projects.The vote was 51-42 in favor of the amendment to a water projects bill, falling nine short of the 60 votes needed to approve it under the rules set for the debate.

But sponsors of the proposal, led by Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., said it was significant that the Senate was finally facing the issue head-on.It was the first time in this session of Congress that climate change had reached a vote on the Senate floor, Kerry said. "Tonight we got a majority of senators to stand up and demand that climate change be taken seriously," he said. With the vote, he said, the Senate "has gone on record about global warming and sent a statement that its impact must be considered in our public policy debates."The proposal would have directed the Army Corps, in drawing up future projects, to use the best available climate science to account for climate change on storms and floods.Wetlands and floodplains act as buffers between hurricanes and other severe storms and coastal communities, said Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., another sponsor. "When Corps projects destroy these and other types of natural barriers, they may put lives at risk."Kerry said the current guidelines for Corps project planning were written in 1983, long before scientists were focused on whether human activities were contributing to the warming of the planet.The amendment was proposed on a $13.9 billion bill that approves hundreds of flood damage, navigation, ecosystem and water recreation projects along the Mississippi River, the Katrina-damaged coast of Louisiana and in almost every other state in the country.

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