Obama Nominates Cap-and-Trader John Bryson to be Commerce Secretary

by Myron Ebell on June 3, 2011

in Blog, Features

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President Barack Obama this week nominated John Bryson to be Secretary of Commerce.  Senator James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.) immediately announced that he would try to defeat Bryson’s confirmation by the Senate. It’s easy to see why Inhofe didn’t have to spend much time weighing Bryson’s qualifications.  Bryson is a model crony capitalist, lifelong professional environmentalist, and leading promoter of cap-and-trade legislation to raise energy prices.

Here is what Bryson said at a symposium at the University of California, Berkeley, in 2009: “Greenhouse gas legislation – either with a tax or with a cap and trade, which is a more complicated way of getting at it, but it has the advantage politically of sort of hiding the fact that you have a tax, but at the same – you know that’s what you’re trying to do, trying to raise price of carbon….”  He went on to say that the Waxman-Markey and other cap-and-trade bills in Congress would not raise energy prices enough to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the required amount, so that he also favored federal regulations, such as renewable requirements for electric utilities, on top of cap-and-trade.  Later, Bryson referred to Waxman-Markey as a “moderate but acceptable bill.”

As a new graduate of Yale Law School in 1970, Bryson was one of the founders of the Natural Resources Defense Council and served as legal counsel in the group’s early years.  From 1976 to 1979, he was chairman of the California State Water Resources Control Board.  And from 1979 to 1982, he was chairman of the California Public Utilities Commission.  He was appointed to both positions by then-Governor Jerry Brown.  After practicing law, he then spent 18 years at Edison International, the parent company of Southern California Edison.  He retired as chairman and CEO in 2008.  In recent years, Bryson has served as an official adviser on energy and environmental issues to the Secretary General of the United Nations.

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