Consider this a good news/bad news update on AGW regulation in Washington. Two days ago in DC, Senator Barbara Boxer told reporters that Congressional action could be years away, “depending on the composition of the Senate,” which changed both incrementally and significantly earlier this week. That spells curtains for Boxer’s cap-and-trade bill, but she’s already fighting on another front here:
The only defense is the Clean Air Act? Boxer underscored this to make clear her support for EPA regulatory action now that Congress won’t pass carbon-emission limits in this session:
A bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation Thursday to block the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, a move that could undercut one of the Obama administration’s top domestic priorities. …
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, called the move “a direct assault on the health of the American people.” She said that if the public waits for Congress to pass climate legislation, “that might not happen, in a year or two, or five or six or eight or 10.”
Last month, at a dinner with environmentalists, EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said her staff had figured out how it could impose a nationwide, market-based system to curb greenhouse gases like the one being contemplated in Congress. But that approach could spark years of litigation from industries that would have to comply with new and potentially complex federal rules and would probably impose higher costs on industry than steps shaped by lawmakers.
John Podesta, a White House ally who heads the liberal think tank Center for American Progress, said that although the administration is still hoping for a legislative solution on climate, “they’re not going to give up their authority to move forward in the absence of comprehensive legislation. We’ve seen how difficult it is to get 60 votes for almost anything.”
The Left’s strategy is pretty clear. The EPA’s regulatory efforts will be very costly to industry. Boxer and Podesta want to use that leverage to get industry on board for the cap-and-trade system, which will be slightly less painful. In essence, they want energy and manufacturing industries to pick their poison.
Who pays for that? We all do. Those higher costs will create inflationary pressures on the prices of all goods and most services, erode buying power, and leave even more families to choose between paying for heat and energy or food and shelter. That’s true in either plan, and the question of which one is less bad is a foolish one. That was the conclusion of the three red-state Democrats, who rightly call into question the implementation of what is basically an attempt to extort Congress for action. In this election year, don’t be surprised to see more pushback on this point.