Environmental Protection Agency
How Far Will Obama Push?
June 14, 2010
Tomorrow Obama will give a big primetime speech about the BP oil disaster, and he's expected to call for some sort of energy bill from Congress. But how far is he going to push? The New York Times reports that the administration is reining in its goals: President Obama has said that the time has come to put a price on carbon dioxide pollution and vowed to find the votes for it this year.
EPA Can Still Regulate CO2 (For Now)
June 10, 2010
So it looks like Lisa Murkowski's resolution to block the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases got shot down. The final vote was 47 to 53, with every Republican and six Dems voting in favor, including Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu, Blanche Lincoln, Evan Bayh, Mark Pryor, and Jay Rockefeller. The line from most of these folks is that they want Congress, rather than the EPA, to take the lead on global warming. Trouble is, many of them won't vote for a climate bill, either.
Murkowski's Showdown With The EPA
June 10, 2010
The Hill's Alex Bolton has a good preview of the Senate vote today on Lisa Murkowski's EPA resolution. This resolution, recall, would overturn the EPA's finding that greenhouse gases threaten public health and welfare. Not only would that stop the agency from cracking down on new coal plants and other greenhouse-gas emitters, but it would also scrap the new fuel-economy standards for cars and light trucks that the Obama administration recently put in place.
Sharron Angle And Party Suicide
June 09, 2010
It's not very often you see a political party shoot itself in the foot by nominating an obviously terrible candidate when better alternatives are available. One exception is the Illinois Democrats, who turned what should be a safe seat into a competitive one by nominating Alex Giannoulias, whose family bank went under, for Senate. (Giannoulias hilariously said he would answer questions about the bank only after the primary, and Democratic voters even more hilariously decided to nominate him anyway.) But the nomination of Republican Sharron Angle for Senate in Nevada stands on its own.
An Energy Bill's Coming In July. But What Kind?
June 07, 2010
Last Friday, Harry Reid sent a letter to various Senate committee chairmen telling them he wanted to get an energy bill rolling in July. BP's poisoning of the Gulf has apparently made energy reform look a lot more palatable than it did a few months ago. But Reid's letter was blurry on the details: He never said whether he wanted legislation that capped carbon emissions. An "energy bill," after all, could mean anything from the big Kerry-Lieberman climate bill to a scaled-down bill that just cracked down on oil companies and maybe added some funds for alternative energy sources.
Rand Paul: Pressure On BP "Un-American"
May 21, 2010
We've had to wait all week, but Rand Paul has finally decided to bless us with his thoughts on the oil spill in the Gulf: STEPHANOPOULOS: But you don’t want to get rid of the EPA? PAUL: No, the thing is is that drilling right now and the problem we’re having now is in international waters and I think there needs to be regulation of that and always has been regulation. What I don’t like from the president’s administration is this sort of, you know, “I’ll put my boot heel on the throat of BP.” I think that sounds really un-American in his criticism of business.
What The EPA's New Tailoring Rule Is All About
May 13, 2010
Looming in the background of the congressional debate on climate change is the fact that the EPA still has the authority to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions on its own, under the existing Clean Air Act. I outlined how that might work here. Short answer: It's complicated, and not perfect from an environmental perspective, though feasible.
The House And Senate Climate Bills, Side By Side
May 12, 2010
Brad Johnson of ThinkProgress has a nice chart showing all the ways in which Kerry and Lieberman's Senate climate bill differs from the bill the House passed last June. All told, the two bills are surprisingly similar, but I'd say the most significant differences are these: --The Senate bill refunds a greater share of the proceeds from selling carbon permits back to consumers—75 percent versus 45 percent in the House bill.
Kerry: This May Be Our Last Best Chance On Climate
May 12, 2010
Over at Grist, John Kerry has a piece discussing both the substance of his climate bill, the American Power Act, and the prospects for passage. Here's a key paragraph on the latter: So what have we done? A lot of meeting and listening—between me, Joe Lieberman, and Lindsey Graham [R-S.C.], hundreds of meetings one-on-one with our colleagues to find out what they needed to support a bill.
At last, we're going to get to see the climate bill. After endless delays and petty mishaps, John Kerry and Joe Lieberman are set to release the American Power Act this afternoon. Here's a leaked summary of the bill, and here's a section-by-section rundown. The overall idea is simple enough: cut carbon pollution 80 percent by 2050 while cranking up the growth of cleaner alternative energy sources. But, of course, nothing's ever so straightforward and there are all sorts of questions to ask. Like: Is this sucker worth passing? Depends on who you ask.