Holt calls climate resolution ‘cap-and-trade’ bill?


Republican Senate hopeful Jim Holt’s campaign suggested Wednesday that rival Gilbert Baker supports cap-and-trade energy legislation. But the resolution on global warming that he’s criticizing Baker for co-sponsoring last year doesn’t mention the cap-and-trade approach.

Holt’s campaign criticized Baker for sponsoring a resolution in the state Senate last year that called for an “efficient, balanced and coordinated” approach to addressing climate change. Calling global warming “unproven science,” Holt’s campaign called the resolution a “cap-and-trade” measure.

“How is Senator Baker promoting the ‘conservative cause’ by co-sponsoring this resolution on ‘climate change’ in Arkansas?” Holt said in a statement released by his campaign.

The resolution, approved by the state Senate last year, didn’t mention specific legislation to combat climate change. It also doesn’t refer to cap-and-trade legislation, in which overall pollution reduction targets are met by allowing facilities to buy and sell pollution credits.

Baker has said he opposes cap-and-trade legislation.

Holt told The Associated Press that he believed the criticism was accurate, saying the resolution would pave the way for such legislation.

“This is an incremental first step,” Holt said.

Several other Republicans co-sponsored the resolution, including state Sen. Kim Hendren, who is also seeking the GOP Senate nomination.

Eight Republicans are seeking the party’s nomination for Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln’s seat. Lincoln, who is seeking a third term, is fending off a challenge from Lt. Gov. Bill Halter in her party’s May 18 primary.

Holt is a former state senator who won the party’s Senate nomination in 2004 but lost the general election to Lincoln.

Baker’s campaign called Holt’s comments wrong, and noted his rival’s losses to Lincoln and to Halter in the 2006 race for lieutenant governor.

“These are the same far-fetched scare tactics that were losing arguments against Blanche Lincoln in 2004 and Bill Halter in 2006,” said Alice Stewart, Baker’s campaign manager. “I don’t think Republicans want to experience that again.”

Baker is a state senator from Conway and a former chairman of the state Republican Party.