Elections have consequences, EPA edition

From the New York Times:

The Obama administration is retreating on long-delayed environmental regulations — new rules governing smog and toxic emissions from industrial boilers — as it adjusts to a changed political dynamic in Washington with a more muscular Republican opposition.

The move to delay the rules, announced this week by the Environmental Protection Agency, will leave in place policies set by President George W. Bush. President Obama ran for office promising tougher standards, and the new rules were set to take effect over the next several weeks.

Now, the agency says, it needs until July 2011 to further analyze scientific and health studies of the smog rules and until April 2012 on the boiler regulation. Mr. Obama, having just cut a painful deal with Republicans intended to stimulate the economy, can ill afford to be seen as simultaneously throttling the fragile recovery by imposing a sheaf of expensive new environmental regulations that critics say will cost jobs.

The delays represent a marked departure from the first two years of the Obama presidency, when the E.P.A. moved quickly to reverse one Bush environmental policy after another. Administration officials now face the question of whether in their zeal to undo the Bush agenda they reached too far and provoked an unmanageable political backlash.

Environmental advocates are furious. They fear a similar delay on the approaching start of one of the most far-reaching regulatory programs in American environmental history, the effort to curb emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

That last line is the real story here. After Congress couldn’t agree on carbon emission restrictions in the form of a cap-and-trade scheme, the Obama EPA made plans to do the deed through regulation instead. Republicans threatened to use their newly won power to make EPA officials testify and assure Congress, and the public, that they were acting within the law.

It seems EPA officials are less sure about the defensibility of their plans now than they were when Democrats were in charge. [Edited at 2:37 p.m.]

– By Kyle Wingfield

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29 comments Add your comment

Linda

December 10th, 2010
2:32 pm

DC ran out of either paper or ink cartridges.

onpatroll

December 10th, 2010
2:49 pm

Why is it that republicans and Kyle here is all about being preemptive when it comes to killing foreigners but they actually want to see the pollution in the rivers before deciding that probably should be there?

onpatroll

December 10th, 2010
2:51 pm

oh sorry, i guess my republican roots are starting to show. the pollution shouldn’t be there.

onpatroll

December 10th, 2010
2:56 pm

hey kyle, how’s that deficit reducing going since Nov? oh yeah, the exact opposite. why haven’t you commented on the fact that your beloved republicans can’t ban their own earmarking ways and that they have no intentions of reducing anything?

Kyle Wingfield

December 10th, 2010
3:17 pm

onpatroll @ 2:56: Maybe you missed this while you were out patrolling around, but the new Republicans haven’t taken office yet.

onpatroll

December 10th, 2010
3:29 pm

oh, so the old republicans didn’t campaign on reducing the deficit? And come Jan. 2011 these new republicans will revamp the taxes and spending they are fighting about now to reduce the deficit?
Come on, you have to do better than that.

Tommy Maddox

December 10th, 2010
3:30 pm

CJ

December 10th, 2010
3:34 pm

After Congress couldn’t agree on carbon emission restrictions in the form of a cap-and-trade scheme, the Obama EPA made plans to do the deed through regulation instead. Republicans threatened to use their newly won power to make EPA officials testify and assure Congress, and the public, that they were acting within the law. It seems EPA officials are less sure about the legality of their plans now than they were when Democrats were in charge.

When Kyle suggests that elections have consequences, he means that elections have consequences when Republicans are in control. When Dems are in control, well, not so much.

For example, when Kyle writes that “Congress couldn’t agree on carbon emission restrictions,” what he means, but doesn’t tell you, is that Republican Senators in the minority blocked an up-or-down vote in the Senate in which the cap-and-trade “scheme” that McCain/Palin ran on would have passed easily. Republicans and their apologists don’t subscribe to the “elections have consequence” point of view when blocking this and scores of other votes that the elected Senate majority have sought to hold.

With regard to regulating carbon emission restrictions, Bush’s EPA refused to regulate greenhouse gases, and the Supreme Court ordered them to do so in Massachusetts v. EPA. I’ve carefully read Kyle’s excerpt from the New York Times piece, and I don’t see anything in it that would suggest that the Obama Administration is concerned about the “legality” of their plans to regulate carbon emissions.

If the author’s theory that Obama is delaying, not because of a scientific review, but because they fear a “political backlash,” then of course, that would be extremely disappointing. All presidents have a Constitutional obligation to enforce all laws, including the Clear Air Act, whether Republicans in Congress like them or not.

Speaking of political backlashes, I’m still looking for the Tea Party’s political backlash against the Republicans in Congress who are continuing to seek direct or indirect earmarks, willing to explode the deficit by another several hundred billion in the next two years, considering abolishing the House’s its independent ethics body, and hiring corporate lobbyist to run their staffs. Kyle, for example, seems to be having a good laugh watching Dems try to hold their President accountable while looking the other way as his Republicans’ rhetoric proves to be nothing more than, well, carbon emissions.

retiredds

December 10th, 2010
3:35 pm

Some economists, after looking over the tax package that Obama negotiated with the elephants are calling it a second stimulus package. Kyle, could it be? The hated and maligned word “stimulus” being attached to the tax reform package of the ages and the elephants are all for it? Tell me it ain’t so, Kyle? It really, really isn’t a stimulus package after all, is it? And the elephants will find a way to pay for it, right?

DannyX

December 10th, 2010
3:54 pm

“And the elephants will find a way to pay for it, right?”

Kyle said Republicans crossed their fingers, they promised to come up with a funding plan. Next year. What ever that means.

I’m sure this imaginary funding plan will also include plans on how to fund all their tax cuts, the two wars they started and left unfunded, and of course…… their socialist Medicare Part D.

On the Georgia Republican side maybe we can also see the funding plan for the wasted millions spent on Oakey Woods.

Do tell.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

December 10th, 2010
4:16 pm

Good afternoon all. Count me as one shocked by the administration’s EPA retreat. I was convinced that th enviroweenies who had seized control of EPA would be nearly unstoppable, at least until a Federal appellate court reined them in. Or until a republican congress with a little spine decides to thank the EPA for three generations of faithful service while flipping off the lights at the agency. And goodness knows the lights in charge at EPA ought to be flipped off.

retiredds

December 10th, 2010
4:22 pm

Danny, I am going to make a prediction right here, right now. When all is said and done it will be business as usual. The Tea Party folks who got elected will love the perks of the job and will need money to be reelected so they will fall in line with their donors’ wishes. No balancing of the budget, as promised by them. Somewhere down the road all will see that not only will they need to cut spending but will have to raise taxes. They will eventually be forced to do the latter because they will only have two choices at that point: raise taxes or declare bankruptcy (US bankruptcy of course). People will yell and scream and say they are losing their liberties and freedom. They will blame Obama for all the ills of the world (after all didn’t he arrive here from some other planet to destroy the world).They will continue with the myth that the tax cuts don’t contribute to deficits but only allow those who earn money (especially millionaires, billionaires, Congressmen/women) to keep theirs and to hell with the middle class. But let’s look on the bright side, there are going to be some road signs in ATL telling us that Jesus is coming May 21, 2011 so all will be forgiven. Looking forward to it.

DannyX

December 10th, 2010
4:33 pm

“Or until a republican congress with a little spine decides to thank the EPA for three generations of faithful service while flipping off the lights at the agency. ”

LOL! The EPA , an agency with real regulatory authority, another liberal Republican Party accomplishment. Unanimous, all Republicans voted for it. They had to. Our rivers were on fire, our lakes heavily polluted, our drinking water was contaminated, we were killing native species, our air was much worse. Oh the good ol’ days.

One party rule, “politburo” style rubberstamp governing. Big nasty pollution drenched nation. Why do Republicans wish to be Communist China?

Thank you Republicans for the biggest liberal accomplishments from the past 40 years.

EPA
Endangered Species Act
Amnesty for millions of Mexicans
Medicare Part D

Dusty

December 10th, 2010
5:34 pm

Well, it is easy to see here that one species is NOT endangered. That is, of course, liberal Democrats. All you have to do is mention Bush and they go into a tailspin of mad mob proportions. Two years ago they went into another kind of tailspin and elected President Obama.

But…talk about a tailspin, President Obama is doing one like a whirlybird without its whirly. Republicans now speak and he is ready to compromise before they reach the door. That is his first smart move. So the liberals burn their Obama banners and head to the woodshed to give him a whuppin’. Loyalty, thy name is NOT liberal Dem.

As to EPA, awwww…..the rivers will still run and the tides go in and out with joy. Meanwhile Gore gets gored in his super mansions of luxurious lights in the the splendor of serendipity.

Oh cry me a river, dull Dems. The EPA boat has already sailed and you missed it. Oh.. and turn out the lights as was suggested. Kyle will let you know when you can speak again. Not soon, I hope.

on patroll

December 10th, 2010
5:39 pm

Hi, my name is Kyle. Sorry, I did forget that the republicans in office currently really did run campaigns on reducing the deficit.

And hi, I’m Ragnar. I don’t know about the rest of ya’ll but I will not be happy until I have unacceptable arsenic levels coming out of my faucets. If those bacteria can try to live off it I don’t see any reason for us not to try also.

on patroll

December 10th, 2010
5:46 pm

Hi, my name is Dusty. I prefer my tides red and my rivers black. I mean, when I go kayaking that wall of whitewater gets my adrenaline pumping and just the thought of having to avoid a bacterial infection at the same time just excites me even more. Now that I think about it; maybe we should get rid of the USDA and FDA too. O157:H7 just has this ring about it.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

December 10th, 2010
6:53 pm

Dear On Patrol, I heard you the first time: “four legs good, two legs bad.” Drink enough kook-aid and you will come to believe only Big Brother protects you.

Mr Independent

December 10th, 2010
6:56 pm

“This nation has a record breaking, $13.8 trillion national debt at the same time as the middle class is collapsing and poverty is increasing,” Mr. Sanders said. “It seems to me to be unconscionable, unconscionable for my conservative friends and for everybody else in this country to be driving up this already too high national debt by giving tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires who don’t need it and in some cases, Mr. President, don’t even want it.”

(He was referring to the Senate President pro tempore, not speaking to Mr. Obama directly.
I will vote for Senator Sanders Independent from Vermont over any hypocritical Republican and spineless Democrats any day. Here is a true representative of the American People.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

December 10th, 2010
7:43 pm

Aahhh, now the liberals claim that the Repugs are in charge of the economy, all because they are in control of the House of Representatives. Amazing how the same crowd says the dummycrats had nothing to do with the 2007 financial meltdown aka Great Recession even though they controlled the House, that very same year.

Dizzying, isn’t it?

And for all you shallow people out there, tax cuts do not add to the deficit, federal spending does. I know that many of you think just because you have checks means that you have money in your checking account, but it doesn’t work that way here on Earth. It is not your money, it is We The People’s money.

So buzz off it, will ya?

killerj

December 10th, 2010
7:44 pm

Are you starting to get the feeling that to many people ruin a good thing?…… no s#(t sherlocks.

Liberal Pariah

December 10th, 2010
8:13 pm

Mr Indy…see I Report for the fact that tax cuts do not add to the deficit. It is spending, spending, spending. The government already has too much of my hard earned money and they don’t know how to spend what they have. Being opposed to giving me back money that was mine to begin with hardly strikes me as ‘being a true representative of the American people.”

retiredds

December 10th, 2010
8:31 pm

Methinks that I report you whine should change his moniker to: I report, you whine, then I out-whine you.

Rafe Hollister

December 10th, 2010
8:47 pm

I am so glad that the Republicans have not as yet fallen for the GW scam or started making money off it like the Dems have, otherwise, we would have frozen to death by now.

Seems that no matter when or where the UN “global scientest” pick to gather to spin their nonsense, they freeze their buns off. Karma, I guess. Can’t imagine a warmer place to have it than Cancun, where they are experiencing 100 year lows. Guess the next convention will have to be in central Africa, pity the poor crocodiles that will freeze there.

Rafe Hollister

December 10th, 2010
8:51 pm

Mr Independent: I am with you, and against this Obama Tax Cuts for the Wealthy Tax Extention compromise.

I hope it fails and the Republicans can strip out all the spending and pork added to the extention bill and pass it in the next session of Congress.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

December 10th, 2010
9:06 pm

Methinks that I report you whine should change his moniker to: I report, you whine, then I out-whine you.

retiredds- What happened to mmm, mmmm, mmmmm!?

No More Progressives!

December 11th, 2010
11:20 am

on patroll

December 10th, 2010
5:39 pm

And hi, I’m Ragnar. I don’t know about the rest of ya’ll but I will not be happy until I have unacceptable arsenic levels coming out of my faucets. If those bacteria can try to live off it I don’t see any reason for us not to try also.

If you are under the impression that aresenic (and other metals) arfe not already regulated, you’re misinformed, but that’s not surprising.

http://water.epa.gov/drink/contaminants/index.cfm#Inorganic

[...] EPA regulation of greenhouse gas …Washington PostPolitico (blog) -BusinessWeek -Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)all 164 news [...]

retiredds

December 11th, 2010
2:06 pm

sorry to keep you waiting: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm!

[...] delay EPA regulation of greenhouse gas …Washington PostThe Guardian -BusinessWeek -Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)all 164 news [...]