Climate advocates stung by defeat in the Senate are folding one of their big umbrella lobbying groups.
Clean Energy Works, a coalition of 80 environmental, religious, veteran and labor groups, will phase out its operations this fall as Democratic congressional leaders abandon plans for a sweeping bill to cap greenhouse gas emissions.
At its peak, the coalition had 200 field organizers in key states and more than 45 staffers based out of a “war room” in downtown Washington. It is led by Paul Tewes, who ran President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign operations in Iowa and other battleground states.
Environmentalists close to the campaign say their donors are still committed to the effort, but decisions on the coalition’s future hinge on whether Democrats hold their House and Senate majorities and what agenda they want to pursue in 2011.
“It’s basically like hitting the pause button and trying to figure out how to redeploy,” said one source affiliated with Clean Energy Works.
Clean Energy Works spokesman David Di Martino said the group’s phaseout was long expected.
“It was originally designed to be a temporary thing,” he told POLITICO. “It makes sense at the end of Congress that there’d be some retooling and some sort of revised kind of approach to what we’ve been working on.”
Volunteers deployed to Clean Energy Works will start returning this fall to their original organizations.
“If you came over from LCV, you’re going back to LCV,” Di Martino said, referring to the League of Conservation Voters. “If you’re a consultant like me, you’ll hopefully go on to other like-minded campaigns.”