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The President Giveth and the Congress Taketh Away
March 4, 2010 10:37 AM   Subscribe

Frustrated with congress' inability or unwillingness to pass comprehensive greenhouse gas regulation legislation and bolstered by a Supreme Court decision upholding the EPA's power to regulate greenhouse gases under the existing authority of the Clean Air Act, President Obama early in his term reversed the Bush administration's position and extended power to the EPA to do the job, partly to provide congressional Democrats with extra leverage to push for a meaningful deal. Fellow Democrat Jay Rockefeller (who recently drew progressive ire by announcing he wouldn't support a push to include the public option during the HCR budget reconciliation process) has helpfully just introduced a bill that would take the power to regulate greenhouse gases away from the EPA yet again.
posted by saulgoodman (25 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Um, I think you mean Jay.
posted by Pollomacho at 10:40 AM on March 4, 2010


Oops. Freudian slip.

Mods? Any chance you can change "Nelson" to "Jay"?
posted by saulgoodman at 10:43 AM on March 4, 2010


I think he prefers John D. Rockefeller IV. Better go with that.
posted by ekroh at 10:48 AM on March 4, 2010


Could have been worse. It could have been "Oysters" instead of "Jay."
posted by gc at 10:48 AM on March 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


It wasn't Obama who did this, but rather the supreme court, back during the Bush administration.

In fact, they didn't allow the EPA to regulate, but rather required them to do so. However, under bush they just didn't bother.

---

The problem, of course, is that without legislation the next president could come in and just undo the whole thing, which would be bad. There's also some fixes that the EPA can't do. I don't think they can raise any kind of tax on their own for example. So no carbon tax, and I don't know if they can even do Cap & Trade.

But they should be able to just mandate that CO2 not be emitted.
posted by delmoi at 10:55 AM on March 4, 2010


One of those cases where the typo is more accurate than reality.
posted by Zonker at 10:55 AM on March 4, 2010


Good job keeping these guys in line, Reid!
posted by DU at 10:55 AM on March 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Rockefeller is much more a lobbyist for the coal industry than a representative of the state of WV so this is not really surprising.
posted by octothorpe at 10:56 AM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I hear Rockefeller is actually a shill for the West Virginia Coastal Property Realtor's association. It's a powerful lobby.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 11:03 AM on March 4, 2010


Excellent work, as always, democrats.
posted by graventy at 11:11 AM on March 4, 2010


The “two-year suspension” will give Congress “the time it needs to address an issue as complicated and expansive as our energy future,” Rockefeller said in an e-mail.

Really? All the controversy over whether we should focus on nuclear, coal, or renewable energy sources and the discussions over the US's procurement of petrol that have been going back and forth and back and forth for decades will finally be solved in the next two years? AWESOME!!!

What a weasel. I'm almost more respectful of the Republicans who want to straight-up block the greenhouse gas requirements. Almost. At least they're being honest about their intentions.
posted by Consonants Without Vowels at 11:12 AM on March 4, 2010


I hear Rockefeller is actually a shill for the West Virginia Coastal Property Realtor's association. It's a powerful lobby.

West Virginia is a major coal state.
posted by delmoi at 11:17 AM on March 4, 2010


Speaking of Republicans straight-up denying global warming, I was thinking about making a post of this, but decided it was too thin.

I think I'll just drop it riiight here. Enjoy your gas of life.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 11:19 AM on March 4, 2010


I hear Rockefeller is actually a shill for the West Virginia Coastal Property Realtor's association. It's a powerful lobby.

West Virginia is a major coal state.


Yes it is. But it is not a major coastal state. Yet ;)
posted by Salvor Hardin at 11:20 AM on March 4, 2010


With Democrats like these, who needs Republicans?
posted by dirigibleman at 11:32 AM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


The linked BusinessWeek story doesn't say much about whether anyone expects the bill to go anywhere. He could be doing it just so he can say he's looking out for the interests of his constituency. People introduce bills that they don't expect to go anywhere just so they can prove a point, such as bills that repeal the entire Internal Revenue Code. Not to say that it's not indicative of his priorities and interests, but just that nothing will necessarily come of it.
posted by ekroh at 11:32 AM on March 4, 2010


Wait, how exactly do I get to blame the President on this?
posted by joe lisboa at 11:34 AM on March 4, 2010


It wasn't Obama who did this, but rather the supreme court, back during the Bush administration.

No, it was President Obama who ordered the EPA to draft new comprehensive carbon emissions regulations.

The courts ruled the EPA had the authority and were in fact obligated to regulate tail-pipe emissions under the Clean Air Act, but Bush basically ignored the ruling. President Obama ordered the EPA to start using its clarified powers (which the ruling found extended even further than automobile emissions to all carbon emissions) and to draft new regulations in the event congress couldn't reach an agreement to address the problem.

Since day one (and even at Copenhagen) the argument from the president has been that since the court's decision effectively gives the EPA the power to regulate greenhouse gases whether or not congress gets its shit together, he's prepared to go the EPA route if necessary to clear the log jam. Given the overwhelming opposition among business interests, congressional republicans and "moderate Dems," it's hard to see how this step represents anything less than Rockefeller deliberately undermining the effort to regulate greenhouse gases.

thanks for fixing the typo, btw!
posted by saulgoodman at 11:39 AM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


With Democrats like these, who needs Republicans?

The sort of Democrats who can get elected in WV are Rockefeller and Byrd.

Imagine, if you dare, how impossibly far to the right the Republicans they'd send to the Senate would be. Like, imagine Nyarlathotep Hitler.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:45 AM on March 4, 2010 [5 favorites]


In related news, Kerry and Lieberman intend to introduce next week an alternative to cap-and-trade (on the assumption that it is dead) that prominently features a carbon tax on transportation fuels as well as cap-and-dividend restrictions on certain industries that would return proceeds to consumers.
posted by ekroh at 11:46 AM on March 4, 2010


"A vote for me is a vote for security, rule of law, a return to family values, and the consumption of terrified children. I'm Nyarlathotep Hitler, and I approve this message"
posted by quin at 12:03 PM on March 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


Metafilter: Imagine Nyarlathotep Hitler
posted by vibrotronica at 1:17 PM on March 4, 2010


Nyarlathotep Hitler is very pro-science. He's a great speaker. He only advocates devouring terrified children because of the powerful Mi-Go lobby and the sales of their brain cylinders. I advise you. To. Go. See. Him. *shudder*

Kinda funny it was Nixon who created the EPA. No, not funny – tragically ironic. ‘Last liberal president’ indeed.

Any way to file a citizen suit (under the clean air act)? They found greenhouse gases pose a threat. Enforce the statute – end of story.
…on the other hand, yeah, how long would the lawsuit take.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:11 PM on March 4, 2010


There are at least 15 bills pending to stop climate legislation: Fifteen states have polluter-driven resolutions to deny climate threat.
posted by stbalbach at 2:57 PM on March 4, 2010


how impossibly far to the right the Republicans they'd send to the Senate would be

If they're electing relatively right-leaning Democrats, then it stands to reason they'd elect relatively left-leaning Republicans.

(Granted, by 2012 Nyarlathotep Hitler may be to the left of the most Republicans).
posted by ryanrs at 9:05 PM on March 7, 2010


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