As reported on CNN, the Senate is debating how or whether to legislatively restore the CAIR program that was struck down in Court. EPA still has a week or so to decide whether to appeal, but all bets are that Congress needs to act in order to save the program.
The game of chicken centers around whether the entire program should be restored, meaning reductions in Phase I set to take effect in 2009/2010 and Phase II which is to take effect 2015. The White House insists on both Phase I and Phase II. (proposed CAIR legislation) Senate Democrats, who have long been unhappy with the strength of the CAIR program are talking like they are only willing to put in place Phase I and then work on long term legislation for a stronger program.
President George W. Bush is "pushing for a full codification of CAIR," Carper told reporters. "That just ain’t gonna happen. I think they may not be able to get what they want, but they can get what we all need."
But the White House has allies in the U.S. Senate. In a sign of the ongoing standoff, Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, and Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., introduced a bill Thursday that would restore the full program instead of just the first phase.
"Options to quickly reinstate Phase I CAIR followed by tighter legislation do not save as many lives as the full CAIR fix until eight to 20 years from now; that means 6,500 to 41,000 more lives will be lost mostly in the next three to six years," according to a statement released by the lawmakers.
With only a few week before Congress is set to adjourn, there does not appear to be much time to resolve the drama. With so much at stake and the chaos that will ensue if no type of fix is adopted, its hard to believe no action will be taken. But as long as the White House insists on reinstatement of the whole program it appears likely there will be no resolution. The Eastern State, Democrats, Environmental Groups and even some of the Utilities believe too strongly CAIR is a weak program. If this was not the case, Congress would have passed Clear Skies-the legislative precursor to CAIR.