In October of last year, I wrote about the concept of "greenmail," where, if elected, Obama would wait to see if Congress would pass Cap'n Trade TM and if they didn't within 18 months, he'd have EPA declare CO2 a pollutant. Well, it appears that the Obama administration has decided to use the greenmail first, as a means of scaring the Congress into passing Cap'n Trade.
From Obama's Greenmail..., 10/20/2008
If Barack Obama is elected President, within 18 months of his inauguration he intends to use the EPA and the Clean Air Act to regulate carbon emissions as a "dangerous pollutant," according to a recent Wall St. Journal article. He'll push this plan forward if by then, Congress hasn't passed a cap-and-trade plan that he likes. Thus, the "greenmailing" of Congress.
Jason Grumet is ... one of Mr. Obama's key policy aides. In an interview last week with Bloomberg, Mr. Grumet said that come January the Environmental Protection Agency "would initiate those rulemakings" that classify carbon as a dangerous pollutant under current clean air laws. That move would impose new regulation and taxes across the entire economy, something that is usually the purview of Congress. Mr. Grumet warned that "in the absence of Congressional action" 18 months after Mr. Obama's inauguration, the EPA would move ahead with its own unilateral carbon crackdown anyway.The article also draws attention to a similar plan that the EPA is already investigating. This is the same one that John Lewis and Paul Saunders are currently fighting. The EPA has published a draft plan to use the Clean Air Act to effectively regulate our economy out of existence in the name of fighting a fictitious global warming problem, and Lewis and Saunders are leading an effort to get EPA to abandon the idea.
Apparently, blocking it now may have no impact on what Obama decides to do once elected. This is disheartening, to say the least. The WSJ piece speculates that Obama is considering this greenmail move because of concern that he won't be able to convince enough people in his own party to pass cap-and-trade:
Thus Messrs. Obama and Grumet want to invoke a political deus ex machina driven by a faulty interpretation of the Clean Air Act to force Congress's hand. Mr. Obama and Democrats can then tell Americans that Congress must act to tax and regulate carbon to save the country from even worse bureaucratic consequences. It's Mr. Obama's version of Jack Benny's old "your money or your life" routine, but without the punch line.
The strategy is most notable for what it says about the climate-change lobby and its new standard bearer. Supposedly global warming is the transcendent challenge of the age, but Mr. Obama evidently doesn't believe he'll be able to convince his own party to do something about it without a bureaucratic ultimatum. Mr. Grumet justified it this way: "The U.S. has to move quickly domestically . . . We cannot have a meaningful impact in the international discussion until we develop a meaningful domestic consensus."Normally a democracy reaches consensus through political debate and persuasion, but apparently for Mr. Obama that option is merely a nuisance. It's another example of "change" you'll be given no choice but to believe in. [bold added]