Environmental Protection Agency

Is This What The Climate-Change Debate Has Come To?
February 10, 2011

Spend enough time listening to doubters and deniers of climate science speak, and you start to recognize certain familiar tics and tropes. There's the personal conversion story, for one. The skeptic explains how, once upon a time, he, too, blindly accepted everything climatologists have to say about how human activity is heating the planet.

No Love Gained
January 27, 2011

Cliff Stearns wanted answers. Just not, mind you, complicated answers. Stearns, the Florida Republican who now chairs the House energy and commerce oversight subcommittee, decided to hold a hearing Wednesday on Barack Obama’s promise to snip away outdated federal regulations. In theory, Stearns had the ideal witness: Cass Sunstein, the White House’s "regulatory czar," who, in his past life as a law professor (and frequent TNR contributor), seemed like he published a new book on subjects like cost-benefit analysis every few months.

January 25, 2011

In tonight's State of the Union, President Obama will propose to freeze discretionary, non-defense spending at current levels for five years. I believe ABC News' Jake Tapper was the first to report the story. Administration officials are now confirming it, via statements like this: As a down payment toward reducing the deficit, the President is calling for a five-year freeze on non-security discretionary spending. In areas outside the freeze, we also will be looking for cuts and efficiencies.

Obama’s Cost-Benefit Revolution
January 22, 2011

Tuesday, the president issued a new executive order on cost-benefit analysis and regulation. Already, the right has denounced it as a paean to collectivism and the left has declared that Obama has sold out to business groups. In fact, both sides are incorrect. The surprising reality is that cost-benefit analysis, as it will likely be practiced under the Obama administration, is not nearly as threatening as its detractors suggest. Then again, neither is it as revolutionary as its supporters like to imagine. Long ago, cost-benefit analysis was a rallying cry for conservatives.

Obama's Review of Regulations: Useful, But Not in the Way He Intends
January 20, 2011

[Guest post by Noam Scheiber:] On one level, it’s hard not to see the regulatory review Barack Obama announced this week as a bit of a stunt. The idea, after all, isn’t to revisit the regulations his administration has supported in areas like health care, finance, or the environment. (Not something I’d like to see, to be sure.) The idea is to root out regulations from earlier eras that have either outlived their usefulness or contradict one another. This is all perfectly fine, and it could be effective politically.

Who Opposes Carbon Regulation?
January 14, 2011

One of the biggest fights in Congress this term will center around preventing the Environmental protection Agency from regulating carbon emissions through the Clean Air Act. Energy lobbyists sound confident: At least 56 senators — just four short of the 60 needed to overcome a filibuster — will most likely support measures to hamstring climate rules, and an additional eight votes may be in play this Congress, a POLITICO analysis shows. Any congressional attempt to limit regulatory authority is always difficult to achieve, an industry lobbyist told POLITICO.

Get Used To It
January 06, 2011

We’ve all heard that Democrats are in for a very difficult two years. The new GOP majority in the House of Representatives will wage a campaign to disable health reform, financial regulation, and the EPA; stonewall executive and judicial appointments; slash nondefense discretionary spending (thus undermining the economic recovery); gut Social Security and Medicare; and launch investigations into every possible White House indiscretion—potentially leading to a vote for impeachment.

Is The EPA Ignoring Congress with Its Climate Rules?
December 27, 2010

Last week, shortly before Christmas, the EPA posted a quick item on its website announcing a timetable for new climate regulations on power plants and petroleum refineries. This, in turn, provoked all sorts of outrage and confusion. Industry lobbyists blasted the move. James Inhofe predicted Armageddon and pledged to do whatever it took to thwart the agency. And some commenters framed this as a fresh power grab by the Obama administration. What was harder to find, though, was an explanation of what the EPA was actually doing. So let's roll tape.

Obama To Fight On Carbon Emissions
December 22, 2010

I've been saying for a while that the Obama administration's climate legacy will hinge in large part on whether it can really stick to its guns on regulating carbon emissions.

The Easiest Way To Make $50 Million
December 15, 2010

It’s always an exciting opportunity when the federal government can raise revenue and protect the environment while simultaneously increasing profits at private businesses. That’s why a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on waste from the energy production processes is encouraging, even if it’s irritating. When energy companies like Shell, BP and the hordes of other, smaller firms drill for oil and natural gas, some gas inevitably bubbles to the surface or seeps out through leaky pipes and ineffective storage systems. The companies burn off some of the bubbles.