Sierra Club chief: If healthcare reform can pass, so can a climate change bill

The Sierra Club’s new executive director thinks healthcare’s passage shows a climate change deal remains possible. 

Michael Brune, who took over as the venerable group’s executive director this month, noted that healthcare received “multiple death pronouncements” during a year-long debate.

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Climate change has received similar death notices, particularly since many think Democrats will be reluctant to move controversial legislation after the difficult healthcare battle.

But Brune said his organization still believes legislation is possible, and sees inspiration from this week’s dramatic passage and signing into law of healthcare legislation.

“We are optimistic about the bill’s chances for passing, not because we are naïve,” Brune said in an interview with The Hill Thursday.

“Just look at the healthcare legislation. Looking at the progress that has been made in spite of multiple death pronouncements. The fact that a bill was signed gives us reason to hope that somehow, some way, reason can prevail,” he said.

Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) are working on energy and climate change legislation they hope to unveil next month.

Graham this week said he believed the healthcare fight would make red-state Democrats like Sen. Blanche Lincoln (Ark.) less likely to support climate change legislation. Lincoln faces a tough reelection fight this year.