EPA official who pushed CO2 regulation resigns

posted at 10:54 am on November 5, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

In the wake of historic midterm losses, people wondered whether Barack Obama would be willing or even able to execute a shift to the center and work with Republicans in the House to find areas of common ground on policy, or whether he would shift to regulatory innovation to push his agenda.   Most people guessed the latter, but a personnel change yesterday at EPA may suggest that the White House is looking for olive branches rather than bureaucratic warfare.  Lisa Heinzerling, an advocate for aggressive regulatory expansion to combat global warming, has resigned:

One of the Obama administration’s most aggressive officials on global warming regulations is stepping down from her post at the Environmental Protection Agency.

Lisa Heinzerling, the head of EPA’s policy office, will return to her position as a Georgetown University law professor at the end of the year, said EPA spokesman Brendan Gilfillan.

Within EPA, Heinzerling is one of the more dogmatic proponents of regulating greenhouse gases to the maximum extent possible under the Clean Air Act.

There are two camps within the agency on climate, said an environmental advocate who spoke on background. The Heinzerling camp, with the mind-set that, “we have the law on our side; let’s go get them.” In the other camp are Administrator Lisa Jackson and EPA air chief Gina McCarthy, who are trying to maintain the support of the White House and Congress.

The question will be whether Heinzerling left on her own steam or got pushed out the door.  Even if it was her own decision, it may have come after losing the fight to run roughshod over Congress and impose the equivalent of carbon taxes through regulation.  A Republican House appears poised to strip the EPA of funding if it exceeds what the GOP considers its Congressional mandate, which means an end to regulatory innovation for the next two years, at least.  There isn’t much point in sticking around for Heinzerling under those conditions.

If she got pushed, then it sends a stronger signal that the White House may have decided to forgo a constitutional battle with Congress over regulatory expansion as a substitute for legislation.  This shows the importance of winning the House in the midterms.  The Senate won’t be able to add spending rejected by the House because Republicans will have a substantial majority to block it in conference reports.  Anything defunded by the House will stay defunded, and despite some of the tough talk from the Obama administration before the midterms on pursuing regulatory solutions, the White House has apparently reached the obvious conclusion.

We will know more when Obama appoints Heinzerling’s successor. If the next appointee is an advocate of aggressive regulatory expansion, then Heinzerling’s departure won’t have been an olive branch at all.


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Steve Z on November 5, 2010 at 12:58 PM

I’m sure she and Carol Browner will be summoned to appear before Congressional committees. I just don’t know if they can force the newly resigned enviro-radical to testify also.

Buy Danish on November 5, 2010 at 1:09 PM

rockmom – right on target.

JEM on November 5, 2010 at 1:37 PM

Thank goodness. Is it too much to hope that Carol Browner will be next?

KingGold on November 5, 2010 at 10:55 AM

I was going to say that now Browner is in charge of everything, as czar, and unaccountable to anyone, as czar.

Do you guys realize how effed us Californians are now that AB 32 is going to go into effect???? 60% increase in electricity rates! $4/gal minimum gas and diesel, 57% increase in natural gas, and we’ll have inflation on top of that. Any food that needs refrigeration will increase greatly due to the new costs.

According to a recent study commissioned by the AB 32 Implementation Group, the AB 32
cap-and-trade regulations with an auction tax alone would increase basic household costs by
$818 to more than $9300 per year per family. These higher costs would lead to job losses of
in the range of 76,000 per year to more than 1.6 million a year, depending upon the rate of
the new auction tax on carbon. There would be a loss about $250 billion to $350 billion over
ten years5 in economic activity, or nearly 2% of gross state product.

NTWR on November 5, 2010 at 1:41 PM

As a former EPA official can she still be subpoena’d by Congress?

slickwillie2001 on November 5, 2010 at 1:42 PM

Buh Bye.

Alden Pyle on November 5, 2010 at 1:52 PM

As a former EPA official can she still be subpoena’d by Congress?

slickwillie2001 on November 5, 2010 at 1:42 PM

Anyone can be subpeonaed by Congress.

darwin-t on November 5, 2010 at 1:58 PM

We may never know for sure why she quit. But, it might..just might, have something to do with the new house leadership sticking to it’s guns and resolving not to cave in favor of remaining true to solid conservative principles! At least I like to believe it’s so!

Dread Pirate Roberts VI on November 5, 2010 at 2:10 PM

The CO2 endangerment finding has to be publicly and thoroughly discredited.

JEM on November 5, 2010 at 12:16 PM

There is a lot of adequate, thorough evidence out there that indicates CO2 does not cause temperatures to rise.
It’s uptake is influenced BY rising temperatures.
And CO2 in of itself as made by man, is not the problem here.
It’s mostly the spewing of volcanoes AND the erosion of the world’s CARBONATE rocks.
And it is also evidenced that no one really know what causes the climate of the earth to change over BILLIONS of years. You cannot even say with any conviction that climate change is CYCLICAL. We simply cannot be sure.
Theories & HYPOTHESES are nice to consider, but to focus upon CO2 as a pollutant, when there are other more dangerous pollutants out there (how ’bout nitrogen pollution?) to worry about.
It’s a bunch of $hit & EPA knows it. They can’t even decide what levels are bad when it comes to particulate matter.
You might as well ban EROSION if you’re concerned about so many micron sizes of particulate matter.
Oh the once said that dust would be included & that these regs were only for power plants & such (which is still bad), but now they have decided, yes, it does include agricultural activity & they want to come out & ‘assess’ the problem.
Whatever good the EPA has done over the years pales in comparison to the MISERY they have created.
Simply put, this is not the role for the federal govt.
Let the states take care of their own environments.
And when one state is doing something that affects another, well that’s when the courts/feds can step in.
But they have no right to take any more power than is in the Const & they clearly have in the EPA,USDA, & any other acronymic agency!

Badger40 on November 5, 2010 at 2:32 PM

Oh they once said that dust would NOT be included

I figured the smarties here would get it without a correction, but this correction is for moronic trolls only.

Badger40 on November 5, 2010 at 2:34 PM

Badger40 on November 5, 2010 at 2:32 PM

Re dust, part of the problem is that of any bureaucracy. When it gets too big, they go looking for more things to do. It becomes empire-building. We need to arbitrarily cut headcount and budgeting for departments like this, and force them to do a kind of triage on their ‘responsibilities’.
Dust a Pollutant? -The Winds of Over-Regulation

slickwillie2001 on November 5, 2010 at 2:47 PM

One of the Obama administration’s most aggressive officials on global warming regulations is stepping down from her post at the Environmental Protection Agency.

She can continue her important work by parading around the White House wearing an “End of the world” sandwich board for the last two years of the Obama Administration.

RJL on November 5, 2010 at 3:51 PM

Badger40 – the key here is that the EPA has certain authority under the Clean Air Act.

I agree with rockmom that the right fix is to amend the Clean Air Act.

I also believe that it’s desirable, in order to build momentum for that, to demonstrate just how badly the present administration and the present EPA management has abused its own rulemaking process to cram through the endangerment finding.

JEM on November 5, 2010 at 3:53 PM

Why on earth would anyone see anything wrong with a Georgetown Law Professor holding a slot at EPA determining America’s energy policy via regulation? — “If you can think it, you can force someone else to do it– can’t you?

KW64 on November 5, 2010 at 7:30 PM

There is a lot of adequate, thorough evidence out there that indicates CO2 does not cause temperatures to rise.
It’s uptake is influenced BY rising temperatures.
And CO2 in of itself as made by man, is not the problem here.
It’s mostly the spewing of volcanoes AND the erosion of the world’s CARBONATE rocks

I would like to see scientific evidence to support your first statement here.

As far as “uptake” of carbon dioxide, gases tend to dissolve more poorly with higher temperatures. Thus, as ocean temperatures rise, carbon dioxide uptake by oceans is less effective.
Volcanoes throw a lot of sulfur (sulfates) into the air, as well as particulates, thus acting to put brakes on warming.

To claim that human-produced carbon dioxide is not affecting our climate is not supported by the preponderance of scientific research.

oakland on November 5, 2010 at 8:17 PM

Great, so she leaves EPA, sits out a month then goes to USDA or Interior. If she’s a really good girl, they’ll put her at Fannie or Freddie for a quick 50 mil.

Keep an eye on her, she’s been a good culture warrior for them, like Jamie Gorelick, we haven’t see the last of Heinzerling.

Jason Coleman on November 5, 2010 at 11:05 PM

Defund the EPA as a matter of good policy even if they don’t over reach!! Do for cutting the size of Government. You could also defund the Dept of Education and some others at the same time for the same reason!

A good rule of thumb is “Starve the Beast”…….

jtpcamp on November 6, 2010 at 12:20 AM

“…it sends a stronger signal that the White House may have decided to forgo a constitutional battle with Congress over regulatory expansion as a substitute for legislation.”

The FCC got burned when they overstepped on net neutrality. If they lost a challenge on regulatory “fee and trade” it could prove very expensive. Forcing the EPA to rebate tens of billions would be a disaster.

I still have my doubts Obama wants peace with the Republicans. More likely it is to keep peace within the Democratic party.

Corky Boyd on November 6, 2010 at 1:57 AM

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