Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Baucus Amendment a shield for the EPA

18 comments:

PBM said...

Yes, the Baucus amendment is trying to rally Dems around an alternative so they don't vote for the GOP bill. If we go back to the cap and trade bill, however, you can see that Obama threatened Congress with EPA regulations if they couldn't come to a consensus on how to reduce carbon emissions. It is disingenuous for this author to say "don't do this, let Congress figure something out."
Global warming has been a recognized problem since 1990 and Congress has yet to do anything about it. I don't think EPA regulations are the best way to deal with carbon emissions either, but the GOP made the decision to go down this road when they didn't cooperate to pass a cap and trade bill in the senate.

Megan said...

but federal bureaucracies can't just do whatever they want when Congress fails to pass the bill they want.

PBM said...

The Supreme Court gave them the authority to do it. This is how our 3 branches of government work.

Ryan Karerat said...

How DARE the Environmental Protection Agency try to protect the environment!

TJE said...

My guess is that the new Ronald Obama will put these regs on very slow track, at least until after the election.

PBM said...

They already are on a very, very slow track, but the GOP and energy industry are still screaming about them.

Megan said...

Still, the fact is that the EPA re-interpreted the initial intent of the bill. Congress has the authority to pass a law taking away the power they never intended to give the EPA. When Reid realized that the McConnell amendment had enough Democratic support to pass (because of pressure from constituents) he tried to get the Democrats to support the Baucus Ammendment, which is a political veneer to trick constituents so that Democrats did not have to choose between constituents and their party. It strikes me as a bit messed up.

PBM said...

It would be more accurate to say (because of businesses in their states). Here's the public's position on the matter:
http://www.grist.org/climate-policy/2011-02-16-public-trusts-epa-loves-clean-air-act-wants-Congress-to-butt-out

And again, our government works with a Judiciary branch. That branch gave the executive branch the authority to do this. This is how our government works as specified by the Constitution.

Yes, Reid is trying to give Dem senators political cover, but that is nothing new, and is a tool used by both parties.

And if you want to see messed up, try checking out any of my past posts on the GOP's spending cuts.

TJE said...

I think it's more accurate to say that by a 5-4 vote SCOTUS decided that the way Congress wrote the Clean Air Act gives EPA the authority to regulate CO2. Congress can, of course, amend the Clean Air Act in any way it sees fit.

Maggie said...

This article makes a huge factual error, which I think undermines its basic argument. While the 1970 Clean Air Act was not intended to regulate greenhouse gases (it was instead intended to lower atmospheric levels of six "criteria air pollutants" such as SO2, Nox, particulate matter, and others), it certainly is not "ill-suited" for that purpose. The article says:

"First, a little history. The 1970 Clean Air Act was never designed to be a global warming law and is ill-suited for that purpose. Its principal tools are old-fashioned, command-and-control regulations that impose enormous costs. Moreover, there is no existing control technology for greenhouse gases — making a Clean Air Act approach almost nonsensical."

The Clean Air Act implemented National Ambient Air Quality Standards, which are the traditional form of "command-and-control" regulations that the author mentions. HOWEVER, in The 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments initiated a national SO2 emissions allowance trading program (also known as the Acid Rain Program). Sound familiar? It's cap-and-trade!! This is NOT a command-and-control regulation, it's a flexible market-based regulation, much like the ones the EPA is trying to initiate to regulate greenhouse gases. The SO2 program was remarkably successful in reducing atmospheric SO2, which, in turn produced great environmental and health benefits.

Therefore, I would STRONGLY argue against the idea that a Clean Air Act approach to regulating greenhouse gases would be "nonsensical".

PBM said...

I don't disagree that Congress can change it, I just don't agree with Megan's description of that deliberation in the Senate.

Also, I don't know if your looking to go this route but conservatives tend to point out 5-4 decisions that go against them, but both Bush v. Gore and Citizens United v. FCC were decided in 5-4 decisions, and conservatives don't question them at all.

Maggie said...

The SO2 program achieved its stated goals of achieving emissions targets at a significantly lower cost than traditional command-and-control regulations. This article is completely wrong!!!

TJE said...

Lots of sassiness. I like!

Megan said...

"It would be more accurate to say (because of businesses in their states)."

Businesses aren't constituents? I hate to break it to you, but businesses provide the jobs.

TJE said...

Spoken as a seasoned member of the WJ team!

PBM said...

Yes, but business' best interest isn't always the same as the public's (like when they outsource jobs to make more money, or pollute our air, land and water), and if you look at constituents, like actual people who vote, they favor the EPA's actions.

Megan said...

Do you have the stats that show that constituents in the Democratic Senator's states widely support regulations?

PBM said...

http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/677-e2-wire/152123-enviro-poll-battleground-state-voters-want-epa-calling-the-shots-on-climate

This is only for Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, but groups did similar polling for cap and trade and found wide support in other key states/districts even when questions were phrased describing specific costs:

http://climateprogress.org/2009/12/11/yet-another-poll-shows-americans-support-the-bipartisan-climate-and-clean-energy-jobs-bill-and-know-the-planet-is-warming-even-in-face-of-anti-science-noise-machine/