Monday, December 10, 2007

The Week in Congress…

by William Yeatman on December 10, 2007

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee voted 11 to 8 late on Wednesday to send the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act to the floor. That's probably the last action on S. 2191 for this Congress, but Chairman Barbara Boxer will now arrive at COP-13 in Bali in triumph.


The House on Thursday voted for its new version of the anti-energy bill by a 235 to 181 margin. The bill contains some version of nearly all the bad stuff already passed by the Senate or the House.


Although it contains provisions to raise gasoline and auto prices supported by President Bush, it also has titles to raise electricity prices and oil company taxes that the president opposes. Thus the Office of Management and Budget sent out a Statement of Administration Policy threatening a veto.


The Senate majority leadership is rumored to be trying to get the new House bill to the floor quickly for a vote. It will take sixty votes to invoke cloture and proceed to a final vote.  The Senate passed its earlier version of the anti-energy by a 63 to 31 vote, but it did not contain the fifteen per cent renewable portfolio standard for utilities.


The RPS would raise electricity prices considerably in southern and mideast States, so has generated significant opposition from Senators from those States. My guess is that the bill cannot get the sixty votes needed for cloture unless the RPS is taken out.

Bali: US Refuses GHG Cuts

by William Yeatman on December 10, 2007

in Blog

Carbon Standoff in Bali

by William Yeatman on December 10, 2007

in Blog

We were living in Kansas City when the Ice Storm of 2001 hit, knocking off power to half the city. Many people were without power for weeks. First we tried out our wilderness survival skills, until the novelty wore off and we moved to the higher ground of somewhere with electricity. Many have had similar storm experiences and understand that truly being thrown into an 1800’s power-less lifestyle would not be pleasant.

Energy is at the very foundation of our economy and society; yet the EPA is contemplating precipitously defining CO2 as a pollutant, making an endangerment finding, which would turn the Environmental Protection Agency into the gargantuan regulator of our economy’s energy usage. 

Brian Walsh, Senior Legal Research Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, thinks that the EPA may be basing its actions on flawed legal premises.  “We’re hearing,” Walsh said,” that some inside the EPA are reporting that they are compelled by the Supreme Court’s April 2007 decision in Massachusetts v. EPA to regulate so-called greenhouse gases.  If these reports are accurate, they suggest that these EPA officials are misreading that opinion.  The Court did not determine that CO2 and other greenhouse gases are in fact endangering health or welfare.  In fact, the Court specifically said that it was not deciding that question. Courts often accept plaintiffs’ allegations as true simply to determine whether the plaintiffs have any hope of winning their case if everything they allege is later proven to be true with sufficient evidence.  That’s essentially what happened here.”

The courts and the EPA really have no business on how our energy use is regulated. If it’s necessary at all to regulate energy, it should be done by our elected representatives in Congress.

For the first time in history, a fatally flawed global-warming cap-and-trade bill passed out of the United States Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee. Democrats, led by Chairman Barbara Boxer (D.-Calif.), approved the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2007 (S 2191) by a vote of 11 to eight December 5.