"Do or Do not. There is no try."

Convenient Amnesia: House Republicans and The EPA

House Republicans are vigorously denouncing the Environmental Protection Agency as a rogue agency engaged in a borderline-illegal effort to regulate greenhouse gases. If anyone believes this to be a principled position, it is useful to recall that under President George W. Bush, the E.P.A. argued for very similar policies, based on the same reading of its responsibilities.

This reminder comes courtesy of Representative Henry Waxman, a California Democrat, who released a personal letter written by Mr. Bush’s E.P.A administrator, Stephen Johnson, imploring the president to allow his agency to begin regulating carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas. The letter was written in January 2008, only a month after the Office of Management and Budget — almost certainly under orders from Vice President Dick Cheney — had rebuffed a similar request.

Mr. Johnson reminded the president that the Supreme Court had said in 2007 that the federal government was required to regulate carbon dioxide if it endangered public health. He said that he had been persuaded that it did threaten public health and that both the law and the “latest science of climate change” had left him no choice but to issue a formal “endangerment finding.”

Mr. Johnson then outlined what he called a “prudent” plan for a multiyear reduction in emissions from vehicles and large industrial sources like power plants and refineries. So far as is known, he never got a reply.

That left the job of controlling carbon dioxide to Lisa Jackson, President Obama’s E.P.A. administrator. She issued an endangerment finding in 2009, and last year presented a plan for regulating emissions that closely resembles Mr. Johnson’s. That historical parallel did not deter Republicans from spending two hours on Wednesday grilling Ms. Jackson for “regulatory overreach.”

It is also worth recalling that the “cap and trade” proposal for controlling greenhouse gas emissions, so maligned by Republicans these days, was first proposed by President George H. W. Bush in 1990 to control acid rain. Partisan amnesia may play well with some voters, but it is disastrous public policy.

By: Editorial-The New York Times Opinion Pages, February 12, 2011

February 14, 2011 Posted by | Environment, Environmental Protection Agency | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


%d bloggers like this: