Udall taking part in Senate’s climate change all-nighter

Colorado Sen. Mark Udall, a Democrat, faces reelection in November.

Colorado Sen. Mark Udall, a Democrat, faces reelection in November.

DENVER — Colorado Sen. Mark Udall will be among some 28 Democratic senators pulling an all-nighter Monday to focus attention on climate change.

But those lawmakers won’t be pushing for the passage of any specific piece of legislation.

The talk-fest is just aimed at raising public awareness about the issue — and, for Udall, at drawing a clear contrast from Congressman Cory Gardner, the Republican up-and-comer who announced his campaign for Udall’s seat less than two weeks ago.

While most vulnerable Democrats facing reelection this fall aren’t participating, Udall actually has something to gain by taking part: resources.

California hedge fund billionaire and climate change activist Tom Steyer is planning to spend $100 million to make climate change an issue in the 2014 mid-term elections; Udall, who attended a fundraiser last month at Steyer’s San Francisco home, is sure to be a main beneficiary.

“I think particularly in mid-March, both sides are spending a lot of time appealing to their base,” said political analyst Eric Sondermann. “For Udall, this is his voting base: the liberal, green Democratic base that wants action on this issue, and a fundraising base with Tom Steyer.

“This is going to be a record-setting campaign in terms of expenditures, and this is an opportunity for Udall to lock up a lot of that money.”

Unlike Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, perhaps the strongest Democratic supporter of the oil and gas industry whose elevation to chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources will help her reelection effort in a solidly red state, Udall stands to gain politically in Colorado, a more progressive state that prizes its natural resources, by going the other way.

“The harm this will do to Udall is non-existent,” Sondermann said. “People on the other side of this issue aren’t voting for him anyways. And it gives him a chance to change the subject. For incumbent Democrats, any day not spent talking about Obamacare is a good day.”

An avid mountain climber whose wife, Maggie Fox, is a former Sierra Club president, Udall has been a strong supporter of renewable energy in Congress, sponsoring a Production Tax Credit for wind energy providers.

Last year, he voted against budget resolution amendments to start work on the Keystone XL pipeline in a non-binding resolution; his office notes, he’s open to voting to approve the project overall, but didn’t want to inject politics into the budget review process.

“From communities along Colorado’s rivers to our mountain ski resorts, climate change is one of the most pressing challenges facing the Centennial State and our special way of life,” said Udall in a statement to FOX31 Denver. “The negative effects of rapid climate change are undeniable — turning our forests into tinder and contributing to one of the most severe droughts on record. Now is the time for Congress to come together and develop a bipartisan road map to confront this problem, which is why I’m helping lead this push on the Senate floor. Inaction simply is not an option.”

Gardner, who sits on the House Energy Committee, is a strong supporter of the industry who has criticized Democrats for opposing the Keystone XL project.

“How strange that Senator Udall serves in the majority party that controls which bills come to a vote in the Senate, but instead of actually legislating, he believes his time is best used giving a speech,” said Gardner’s campaign spokesman, Alex Siciliano. “This whole stunt is indicative of how the chamber has run since Senator Udall has served in the majority – politics and speeches are preferred to actually introducing bills and being accountable for votes.

“Colorado needs leadership not speeches. Only someone who has been in Washington too long would believe a speech is a solution.”

Last week, Udall and Gardner offered competing proposals related to natural gas exports, an issue of sudden importance given the rising tensions in Ukraine, in one of the opening salvos of the fall campaign.

The only serious legislative push to address climate change, a cap-and-trade bill proposing major businesses pay a price on carbon dioxide emissions, died in 2010 after passing the House only to die in the Senate.

6 comments

  • Bob Trower

    “CLIMATE CHANGE” HAS BEEN GOING ON SINCE BEFORE THE FIRST CAVE MAN DISCOVERED FIRE. AND STUPIDITY HAS BEEN GOING ON SINCE THE FIRST DEMOCRAT CLAIMED HE WAS A DEMOCRAT. COME ON UDALL…… YOUR BRAINS ARE SHOWING. NO ONE, NO NATION AND NOTHING WE CAN DO OR STOP DOING, IS GOING TO CONTROL THE CLIMATE.

  • Ruth Smith

    I wish Mar woudl spend a little time helping we victims of the Boulder flood. I contacted his office over two month’s ago and never received a response. Thanks a lot Mark!

  • coloradocommish

    With all due respect…. If you’re still a disciple of the “Global Warming/Climate Change” hoax… you’re either a complete idiot (sorry), or you’re, purposely, being intellectually dishonest …. either is not a trait to be proud of.
    Those still advocating this nonsense, and continuing this ruse, are doing so to make millions of dollars at others expense.

  • philohaddad

    There is nothing wrong with being concerned about “climate change”. The emphasis on CO2, however, is misplaced. It is the heat being emitted from fossil fuels and nuclear energy that causes temperatures to rise and glaciers to melt. Our annual energy use emits four times the measured rise in atmospheric temperature that we saw before the melting of glaciers occurred at such a rate (one trillion tons a year) as to provide enough cooling to slow down the rise. We should focus on HEAT, not CO2.

  • David Kaplan

    If he’s ignorant enough to support Obamacare and lie to us about keeping our plans. Why would anyone think he’s not ignorant enough to believe in the global warming hoax?

    31,478 American scientists have signed this petition,
    including 9,029 with PhDs.

    “We urge the United States government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan in December, 1997, and any other similar proposals. The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind.

    There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.”

    http://www.plantsneedco2.org/default.aspx?menuitemid=384

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