Booker, Klobuchar lay out climate plans

Source: By Timothy Cama, E&E News reporter • Posted: Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Democratic presidential hopefuls Cory Booker and Amy Klobuchar have outlined their plans to fight climate change as a landmark town hall event approaches.

The platforms are meant to draw on the candidates’ backgrounds and strengths. Booker, a New Jersey senator, is focusing on environmental justice, while Klobuchar, a Minnesota senator, looks to strengthen policies initiated by President Obama with an emphasis on the Midwest.

Booker and Klobuchar are both scheduled to participate in CNN’s climate change town hall tomorrow. Many of the other Democratic candidates in the forum have already released climate policy plans, including former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas and entrepreneur Andrew Yang (see related story.)

“We are facing a dual crisis of climate change and economic inequality,” Booker said today in rolling out his climate proposals.

“To end the real and growing threat of climate change and to create a more just country for everyone, we must heal these past mistakes and act boldly to create a green and equitable future. That’s exactly what I’ll do as president.”

Booker’s plan builds on his April platform for strengthening EPA. The member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which oversees the agency, said at that time that he wanted to increase enforcement against polluters and crack down on pollution in minority and poor neighborhoods.

With today’s plan, Booker is eyeing a $3 trillion direct investment — less than the $16 trillion Sanders has proposed — with a plan for the entire economy to use clean energy by 2045.

Booker would create a federal Environmental Justice Fund, at a cost of $50 billion annually, charged with tasks like replacing all lead water lines in residential, school and day care buildings; ensuring every home has a wastewater disposal system; and starting the cleanup of all “orphaned” Superfund sites and abandoned hardrock mines.

He would also put $1.5 trillion into clean energy, energy storage and electric vehicles, and institute a carbon tax that would be returned to taxpayers as “dividends.”

Klobuchar, meanwhile, borrows heavily from Obama in her plan. She would seek to reinstate and strengthen policies like participation in the Paris climate agreement, the Clean Power Plan, and methane emissions standards for oil and natural gas drillers.

“We can’t wait. That’s why Senator Klobuchar is committed to taking immediate action — without Congress — to transform our energy sector, unlock scientific breakthroughs, hold the fossil fuel industry accountable, and support workers and communities that are on the front lines of the climate crisis,” her campaign said Sunday in announcing the climate plan.

Some of Klobuchar’s ideas would go beyond Obama’s policies, like ending tax incentives for fossil fuels, stopping new fossil fuel leases on federal land, and instituting a carbon tax.