Environmental Protection Agency
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.
Is The EPA Confrontational Enough?
December 07, 2010
Here's a quick sketch of how environmental policy will get made for the next two years. Congress won't pass any new laws. The EPA will try to use the authority it already has to mop up pollution from coal plants, factories, and vehicles (and the agency has a fair bit of existing authority to do so). Industry groups, Republicans, and more than a few Democrats will moan about the costs. And the Obama administration will then have to decide just how much confrontation it can really stomach.
The End of Automania
November 23, 2010
In January 1973, William Ruckelhaus, the administrator of the newly formed Environmental Protection Agency, traveled to Los Angeles to break the bad news to residents: They were going to have to drive less. Automobile smog was choking the city, in stark violation of the Clean Air Act, and the EPA had hatched a plan to clear the air, by promoting mass transit, parking fees, high-occupancy lanes, and gasoline rationing. The reaction from car-loving Californians was a combination of shock and outright rage. "That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard," fumed one resident.