Dems to WH: Rein in the EPA

posted at 12:15 pm on April 7, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Yesterday, the Senate had several opportunities to put a leash on the EPA and its attempt to grant itself jurisdiction on climate-change regulation.  Proposals from both Republicans and Democrats failed to pass cloture yesterday, but the number of Democrats crossing over to push back against regulation sends a message to the White House that opposition to their plans to conduct an end-around Congress has now achieved bipartisan status:

In a series of Senate votes Wednesday on measures to block or limit EPA climate rules, 17 Democrats broke with their party to support measures to rein in one of the administration’s top environmental policy initiatives. Four went so far as to side with a GOP-led effort to nullify EPA’s climate rules altogether: Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Mark Pryor of Arkansas.

In the House, meanwhile, about a dozen Democrats are expected to join a near-unanimous GOP caucus to vote for an almost identical anti-EPA bill on Thursday. In what could be a test vote for final passage, 12 Democrats broke ranks Wednesday to vote in favor of the rule to move forward with the bill, introduced by Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (D-Mich.). …

Rep. Dennis Cardoza, a California Democrat, told POLITICO earlier this week that there’s growing opinion among Democrats that EPA is becoming a “rogue agency,” adding that the White House needs to take action to curb the agency’s power. “I think the president’s out of step on this one, and he’s going to have to get his agency under control,” he said.

In the Senate on Wednesday, even Democrats who are typically backers of the Obama administration – like Max Baucus of Montana, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Carl Levin of Michigan – jumped on the anti-EPA bandwagon to endorse Democratic amendments to curtail the agency’s power. Those amendments were aimed at allowing vulnerable Democrats to take slaps at EPA that could protect them in upcoming elections.

Don’t get too enthused over the bipartisanship, of course.  The Senate votes in particular were safe enough to cast.  Harry Reid didn’t bring the bills to the floor until he was certain they wouldn’t pass cloture.

However, it took him a couple of weeks to reach that certainty, which gives an indication just how unpopular the EPA effort has become.  The very fact that vulnerable Democrats feel the need to take these votes demonstrates the extent to which Lisa Jackson’s EPA has grown extreme.  Inevitably, that will be expressed in one fashion or another in Congress, Time’s Bryan Walsh warns:

So environmentalists can breathe a sigh of relief—but not a deep one. Today’s events shows that the mood on Capitol Hill has definitely turned against advocates of action on climate change, leaving greens essentially playing defense. More worrying, environmentalists have to wonder just how solid the White House will be on this issue. The Obama Administration has sent mixed signals on whether it would go to the mat for the EPA on climate change specifically. In conservations with environmental leaders at the Fortune Brainstorm Green meeting earlier this week, it became clear that while they felt confident of the White House’s backing against any efforts to undo protections around public health—like a move by Republicans to weaken EPA regulations on mercury emissions—greens aren’t so sure that Obama will be with them on climate change. It was telling that in a major speech last week on energy, Obama barely mentioned global warming and did not talk about defending EPA regulations on carbon.

In any case, it’s all hands on deck time for environmental organizations, who’ve seen a stunning reversal of fortune since the heady days of 2009. Their best hope might be the Republican party itself, simply going too far and inviting a public backlash. “This is a huge overreach,” Environmental Defense Fund president Fred Krupp told me on Monday. “The public wants clean air. They want to know that government regulation is keeping them safe from industrial pollution.” I think Krupp is right—but wanting clean air isn’t the same thing as wanting climate regulation.

It’s not the same thing at all.  The public mainly supports efforts on particulate emissions where science clearly shows danger to the public.  Carbon dioxide is a naturally-occurring element necessary for life on Earth, whereas chlorofluorocarbons and carbon monoxide are most decidedly not.  The science on global warming is hardly conclusive, and some would argue hardly a science at all.  Americans don’t want to sacrifice their economic future for a religious belief system to limit a non-toxic emission, and the longer Democrats go before realizing it, the greater the damage to their political prospects will be.  Congressional Democrats seem to have belatedly awoken to that danger.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

I’ll believe it when I see it. Even if the Congress somehow passes this bill, Obama will veto it. And do you think Reid will let the Senate override that veto? The Republicans might get 60 for cloture, but getting 66 for a veto override? That will be a monumental task. I don’t even know if they could get the House to override the veto.

Vanceone on April 7, 2011 at 12:19 PM

Americans don’t want to sacrifice their economic future for a religious belief system to limit a non-toxic emission

nice backhand.

ted c on April 7, 2011 at 12:20 PM

“I think the president’s out of step on this one, and he’s going to have to get his agency under control,”

Is there anything Barry has ‘been in step with’?

These tree huggers have their heads so far up their anal orifice they tend to forget that PEOPLE VOTE THEIR WALLET.

As gas prices continue to climb, these climate-changers are going to become an endangered species.

GarandFan on April 7, 2011 at 12:20 PM

Hold on now, how am I supposed to live a normal life when there is a small dust cloud raised every time I drive an ATV into the back yard? Help me EPA, you’re my only hope.

Bishop on April 7, 2011 at 12:20 PM

“Americans don’t want to sacrifice their economic future for a religious belief system to limit a non-toxic emission…”

But the President of the United States most certainly does…

Seven Percent Solution on April 7, 2011 at 12:20 PM

Rein in the EPA? How about eliminating it. They the legislators can then legislate what standards should be. That is after all their job, and it’s about time they started doing it. To much of this country is controlled by people who were never elected. In a representative democracy this is a real bad idea.

Tommy_G on April 7, 2011 at 12:20 PM

Congressional Democrats seem to have belatedly awoken to that danger.

The question is: Will the imperious perpetual campaigner listen to Congress? Probably not.

kingsjester on April 7, 2011 at 12:20 PM

EPA = Environmentalist Protection Agency.

VegasRick on April 7, 2011 at 12:21 PM

Close down the government.

Don’t fund re-opening the EPA.

Problem solved.

ajacksonian on April 7, 2011 at 12:22 PM

The Dems belatedly see the writing on the wall as our president continues to tilt toward windmills…

Drained Brain on April 7, 2011 at 12:23 PM

But Matt Lauer said we have to keep funding climate change or something

John the Libertarian on April 7, 2011 at 12:24 PM

Hahahaha, Bobby Casey suddenly having a deathbed conversion. I guess Dingy Harry is trying to protect him. Good luck with that!

rockmom on April 7, 2011 at 12:26 PM

“Americans don’t want to sacrifice their economic future for a religious belief system to limit a non-toxic emission…”

Right, and Dems will have hell to pay when soaring energy costs ripple through the economy and start changing their daily lives.

petefrt on April 7, 2011 at 12:27 PM

The science on global warming is hardly conclusive, and some would argue hardly a science at all.

Even if you accept that the alarmists are 100% correct, the actions the EPA will take will have an absolutely untraceable affect on the environment. We will stunt the growth of our economy and make energy more expensive for literally nothing. The only reason this is going forward is that it is absolutely the left’s religion.

strictnein on April 7, 2011 at 12:27 PM

And can’t Barry just veto it?

Knucklehead on April 7, 2011 at 12:28 PM

The Dems better worry more about the political climate.

cartooner on April 7, 2011 at 12:32 PM

“In any case, it’s all hands on deck time for environmental organizations, who’ve seen a stunning reversal of fortune since the heady days of 2009.”

I blame the Koch Brothers and Big Oil…

– cr66

(you know its coming)

Seven Percent Solution on April 7, 2011 at 12:33 PM

And can’t Barry just veto it?

Knucklehead on April 7, 2011 at 12:28 PM

Everything rests in the House at this point. Their best tactic is to refuse to fund agencies like the EPA, and the Dems’ best tactic is to refuse to pass bills that don’t include massive spending for everything they want, thus shutting down the government.

It’s time we had this fight. It’s been brewing for a long time.

fossten on April 7, 2011 at 12:35 PM

Seven Percent Solution on April 7, 2011 at 12:33 PM

you mean ‘cr666′ ?

gh on April 7, 2011 at 12:36 PM

In the Senate on Wednesday, even Democrats who are typically backers of the Obama administration – like Max Baucus of Montana, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Carl Levin of Michigan – jumped on the anti-EPA bandwagon to endorse Democratic amendments to curtail the agency’s power. Those amendments were aimed at allowing vulnerable Democrats to take slaps at EPA that could protect them in upcoming elections.
Don’t get too enthused over the bipartisanship, of course. The Senate votes in particular were safe enough to cast. Harry Reid didn’t bring the bills to the floor until he was certain they wouldn’t pass cloture.

If 17 Senate Democrats voted against their party, that would only leave 53 – 17 = 36 Democrats voting against these measures. Unless some of them voted with the Republicans on one amendment, and some of them voted on a different amendment, so that the total number of “yeas” was less than 60 in all cases.

But if all 17 of those Democrats want to save their seats next year, many of whom come from coal states, won’t their voters want RESULTS? As in, all 17 of them vote with 47 Republicans to get 64 votes for cloture?

Which would dare Obama to veto the bill, and put the blame squarely where it belongs, on Obama’s EPA, who did an end-run around Congress.

Obama couldn’t get Cap’n Trade through even last year’s 59 D – 41 R Senate, so it’s time for politically savvy Senate Democrats to dump this in Obama’s lap.

Steve Z on April 7, 2011 at 12:37 PM

Rep. Dennis Cardoza, a California Democrat, told POLITICO earlier this week that there’s growing opinion among Democrats that EPA is becoming a “rogue agency,” adding that the White House needs to take action to curb the agency’s power.

What a load of hazardous waste. The EPA is entirely and 100% under the control of Abu Oumama; it’s him that is ‘rogue’, not one of his departments. I also prefer ‘tyrant’ to ‘rogue’.

PS Thank you for not writing it ‘reign’.

slickwillie2001 on April 7, 2011 at 12:38 PM

“If you’re complaining about the price of gas and you’re only getting 8 miles a gallon, you know,” Obama said laughingly. “You might want to think about a trade-in.”

Anyone obtuse enough to make a statement like that…

… is never going to reign in the EPA.

Seven Percent Solution on April 7, 2011 at 12:38 PM

Anyone obtuse enough to make a statement like that…

… is never going to reign in the EPA.

Seven Percent Solution on April 7, 2011 at 12:38 PM

Actually, he IS reigning. But he isn’t reining.

fossten on April 7, 2011 at 12:40 PM

Global Warming fits perfectly with the Progressive’s path to Nirvana. It is the way to trump pesky individual rights with the commons. If the commons are endangered by exercising individual rights…well…it takes elites in science and academia to manage it along with a political class of elites to govern us.

cartooner on April 7, 2011 at 12:42 PM

Rein in the EPA? How about eliminating it. They the legislators can then legislate what standards should be. That is after all their job, and it’s about time they started doing it. To much of this country is controlled by people who were never elected. In a representative democracy this is a real bad idea.

Tommy_G on April 7, 2011 at 12:20 PM

There’s a legitimate role for agencies like the EPA as an enforcement agency. The problem is that they independently make rules and regulations that are almost indistinguishable from law. Every rule and regulation they enforce should first have to be passed as a law.

Hollowpoint on April 7, 2011 at 12:44 PM

Close down the government.

Don’t fund re-opening the EPA.

Problem solved.

ajacksonian on April 7, 2011 at 12:22 PM

Even better–pass a budget bill through the House with no funding for the EPA, then ask Dingy Harry to either pass it or shut down the government. If it fails in the Senate, blame the shutdown on Senate Democrats. If it passes the Senate, Obama has the choice between cutting soda-pop gas and funding the government, and let’s see where his priorities lie.

Steve Z on April 7, 2011 at 12:44 PM

I blame the Koch Brothers and Big Oil…

– cr66

(you know its coming)

Seven Percent Solution on April 7, 2011 at 12:33 PM

Funny you bring up the Koch Brothers-the NY Times lied about them last week, and promptly got caught by Power Line:

http://www.nytimes.com/ref/pageoneplus/corrections.html

A March 31 editorial misstated donations by Charles and David Koch to Representative Mike Pompeo of Kansas. Their political action committee, employees of Koch Industries, their families and other supporters donated $79,500, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. The brothers did not personally donate $80,000.

John at Power Line wonders:

Perhaps the Times editorialists and reporters will learn a lesson about relying on left-wing web sites for their facts. The deeper question remains, however: as I asked Mr. Brisbane, is it really possible that the New York Times editorial writers carry out no fact checking whatsoever with respect to their editorials? Or do they consider reading far-left web sites like Think Progress to be “fact checking”? Mr. Brisbane publishes his column on Sunday; perhaps he will address this question in his next column.

Del Dolemonte on April 7, 2011 at 12:48 PM

There’s a legitimate role for agencies like the EPA as an enforcement agency.

Hollowpoint on April 7, 2011 at 12:44 PM

Total BS.

fossten on April 7, 2011 at 12:49 PM

Total BS.

fossten on April 7, 2011 at 12:49 PM

Well you sure showed me with that thoughtful retort…

There are interstate environmental issues that the federal government has a legitimate role in regulating, and someone has to enforce such laws, be it the EPA or FBI.

The problem is that Congress is allowing the EPA and the President to make regulations that are laws in all but name without first going through the legislative process as every other law must.

Hollowpoint on April 7, 2011 at 12:58 PM

Well you sure showed me with that thoughtful retort…

There are interstate environmental issues that the federal government has a legitimate role in regulating, and someone has to enforce such laws, be it the EPA or FBI.

The problem is that Congress is allowing the EPA and the President to make regulations that are laws in all but name without first going through the legislative process as every other law must.

Hollowpoint on April 7, 2011 at 12:58 PM

Well you sure showed me, with that proof by assertion argument.

fossten on April 7, 2011 at 1:01 PM

Hollowpoint on April 7, 2011 at 12:58 PM

Good golly, how in the world did this country ever survive before 1970. Imagine…

/

fossten on April 7, 2011 at 1:05 PM

like a move by Republicans to weaken EPA regulations on mercury emissions

Oh, how I love irony… Those curly fry light bulbs of which environmentalists are so fond can’t simply be thrown in the trash because of the potential for mercury contamination. So, really?

College Prof on April 7, 2011 at 1:07 PM

The U.S. government’s lead envoy on climate change said the United Nations talks aimed at negotiating a binding treaty to curb global warming are based on “unrealistic” expectations that are “not doable.”

Todd Stern, the State Department official who heads the U.S. delegation at the 192-nation discussions, said that a meeting this week in Bangkok was “marked by struggles over the agenda” similar to “bickering over the shape of the negotiating table.”

J_Crater on April 7, 2011 at 1:17 PM

Good golly, how in the world did this country ever survive before 1970. Imagine…

/

fossten on April 7, 2011 at 1:05 PM

Thanks for reminding me not to offer a reasonable response to the serially stupid. I should’ve known better.

Hollowpoint on April 7, 2011 at 1:34 PM

Thanks for reminding me not to offer a reasonable response to the serially stupid. I should’ve known better.

Hollowpoint on April 7, 2011 at 1:34 PM

That’s it? That’s your best shot, name calling? The last refuge of those who don’t know how to debate a topic?

I knew you couldn’t construct an actual argument on the subject.

fossten on April 7, 2011 at 1:39 PM

Thanks for reminding me not to offer a reasonable response to the serially stupid. I should’ve known better.

Hollowpoint on April 7, 2011 at 1:34 PM

Let me guess – you believe that the ATF does good work too, right? Because common sense gun regulation is needed in order to keep violent crime in check?

fossten on April 7, 2011 at 1:41 PM

Environmental Defense Fund president Fred Krupp told me on Monday. “The public wants clean air. They want to know that government regulation is keeping them safe from industrial pollution.”

Regulations don’t keep people safe, any more than a phone book places phone calls. Regs are a tool, which can be used for any purpose by their wielder. Environmental regs can easily be weapons against companies that don’t donate to the right candidates, or payoffs to favored contractors.

hawksruleva on April 7, 2011 at 2:01 PM

Drained Brain on April 7, 2011 at 12:23 PM said…

The Dems belatedly see the writing on the wall as our president continues to tilt toward windmills…

Oh man, talk about mixing metaphors!

All I can think of now is “Mene mene tekel quixote”

stoutcat on April 7, 2011 at 2:04 PM

The EPA is becoming a rogue agency? What does that make the Fed?

Kissmygrits on April 7, 2011 at 2:04 PM

Steve Z on April 7, 2011 at 12:44 PM

The piecemeal approach allows the House to set the priorities so that if the Senate stalls on anything, then all the lower priority items get stalled, too.

That means that EPA, FCC, Ag, Ed, Energy, Labor, FDA…. can all get much lower priorities than DoD. Just tell everyone that it is piecemeal time and have the Senate be the one to gum up the works by trying to demand its priorities over the chamber that starts the funding process. Fun will be had by all! And each day they stall, it is more of the lower priority stuff facing longer and longer delays… go with DoD, Justice, State, USPTO, The Mint… anything in the Constitution goes before the ‘discretionary’ parts of the budget. Fund the necessary parts, first and somewhere around JUL the Senate will finally start to cave, because the 2012 piecemeal budget will be coming their way piece by piece….

ajacksonian on April 7, 2011 at 2:53 PM

So environmentalists can breathe a sigh of relief—but not a deep one.

…because the EPA doesn’t approve of carbon dioxide generation!

dominigan on April 7, 2011 at 3:35 PM

There’s a legitimate role for agencies like the EPA as an enforcement agency.

Hollowpoint on April 7, 2011 at 12:44 PM

I’m with Hollowpoint on this one. The EPA has done some good work, since many American rivers and lakes are cleaner than they were 40 years ago (when the EPA was established), and emissions of real air pollutants (lead, sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxides, particulates, and carbon MONoxide) have decreased while industrial production has increased. There’s nothing wrong with a Federal government agency trying to limit the emissions of pollutants by industry that can be harmful to the health of others, across state lines.

The “cap and trade” system the EPA uses on REAL pollutants has its benefits–a polluting industry can either install pollution control equipment and sell emission allowances, or not install pollution control and buy emission allowances. When it becomes cheaper to install pollution control equipment than pay fines, industries install the pollution control and the air becomes cleaner.

With real pollutants, which do have toxic effects on people, the control technology usually removes about 95 to 99% of the pollutant, and only adds a few percent to the price of a manufactured product.

EPA has over-reached with carbon dioxide, because it is NOT toxic (plants NEED it), the amounts emitted in flue gas are huge, and control technologies for power plants consume about 20 to 30% of the power generated, which would drastically increase power costs for no real benefit to human health.

If the House voted to de-fund the entire EPA in order to prevent enforcement of “rules” on CO2, some moderate Democrats might start thinking, “should we lose all the good things EPA does to force the issue on CO2, or should we prevent the EPA from imposing rules on CO2 so that it can continue work on real pollutants?”

EPA has no Congressional authority to regulate CO2, although previous Congresses have given it authority to regulate real pollutants. A vote to de-fund EPA would be a message to EPA: “Do ONLY what we explicitly authorized you to do, or nothing at all!”

Steve Z on April 7, 2011 at 4:26 PM

Now if government was run like a business, the CEO would also look at how many people were engaged in the company/agency on the illegal regulation of CO2, and lay off exactly that many people. Unfortunately government isn’t run with the objective of efficiency and low-cost.

slickwillie2001 on April 7, 2011 at 4:39 PM