Democratic leaders of the US House Energy and Commerce Committee agreed to hold another hearing on climate change legislation on May 1. As discussed by commentators with the Environmental Markets Association, some Washington Insiders believe this announcement is a clear indication the Waxman-Markey Climate Legislation won’t make it.
Republican have hammered home the unknown costs of the proposal and seem to be getting traction during this tough economic time. As reported in the Oil and Gas Journal, the minority party is still flexing its muscles:
"It is our intention to use the opportunity you are providing us this Friday to carefully examine the one element of the legislation that has so far escaped examination in 38 hearings stretching over 40 days, its cost," the two GOP committee members said.
Republicans have found a sympathetic group among Democrats from states that rely on coal and manufacturing to drive their economies. As reported in Politico, while Rep. Dingell may have lost his leadership position he is still finding sympathetic fellow Democrats willing to support further concessions to protect industry in their states:
But dethroning Dingell didn’t change the membership of the committee, and there are plenty of Dingell Democrats left on the panel — Rust Belt, coal state and Southern Democrats who want to protect native industries as they negotiate the final terms of a sweeping climate change bill. And that’s why Waxman has his hands full winning votes in the committee, and it’s one of the reasons he moved Monday to postpone a bill markup scheduled for this week.
Meanwhile the "fuse has been lit" by EPA on moving forward with regulation of greenhouse gases under the existing authority in the Clean Air Act. Many commentators speculate that EPA and the Obama Administration are using this as a tactic to push the climate change legislation through Congress, even if they are correct that may be a tactic that back fires.
If Congress does not act, I see no way EPA reverses course on its Endangerment Finding or California’s Waiver request to set GHGs limits for vehicles. Furthermore, EPA is reconsidering the Bush Administration decision to not require CO2 controls for coal plants.
Even if EPA does not move forward with a full blow set of regulations to regulate GHGs, these actions will lay the ground work for Environmental groups to assert no new permits can be issued without CO2 controls. If there are concerns about the costs of climate legislation, everyone should be asking what the implications of these EPA actions will be on permitting and associated economic development.
(Photo: Flickr Amy Manuel)