EPA Landmark Greenhouse Gas Regulations Sets Stage For Political Fight Between Republicans and White House

In a landmark announcement today, the Obama Administration announced that it will use the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulatory power to set limits on carbon dioxide emissions from factories, power plants and refineries, a decision which likely sets the stage for another partisan battle upcoming when Republicans take control of the House of Representatives next month.

The Obama Administration EPA’s new mandate will be effect starting in January of 2011 and comes shortly after its findings late last year on the dangers of greenhouse gases, and coincidentally, also coincides with some of the worst weather the planet has ever seen.

This landmark regulatory move will give the Obama Administration EPA the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions in Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Oregon, and Wyoming, and it will disallow part of the Texas Clean Air Act permit program. With today’s historic action, power plants and oil refineries will have to obtain federal permits that cap their greenhouse gas emissions.

Republicans assert these new greenhouse gas rules will stifle businesses and kill jobs. It may stifle their oil rich buddies and dividends and payoffs, and jobs that will sooner or later be gone forever, as oil continues to run out. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a Republican from oil-rich Alaska, argued that letting the Obama Administration EPA control emissions would create a new energy tax and kill jobs, and that it’s Congress’ job, not regulators’, to set the levels. Supporters of greenhouse gas emission caps argue just the opposite: that the EPA’s actions will actually help create jobs. The jobs that may or may not be lost will be replaced with jobs in a new and growing business, which is green technologies and and green energies. We need to step up to the plate and get back in the race as a world leader in the green alternative energy race, not a bystander like Republicans would have us believe. Sooner or later, oil will either be gone altogether, or will be replaced, and the same goes for coal. My advice to these megalomaniacs is that the time has never been better to diversify, and to start it right away.

Democrats hailed the move as one that would promote a clean energy future for the United States. “I applaud the EPA for taking this measured and reasonable step toward addressing the pollution that threatens the health and welfare of our families and children,” Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee said in a statement. These pollution control standards would apply to some of the largest emitters of dangerous pollution across the country, while also encouraging investment in the nation’s clean energy technologies.” I am happy for the move, at least we are back at the plate to try and reduce our harmful greenhouse gas emissions. This my friends is at least a step in the right direction. And this goes without saying, but we will say it anyways, that the environmental groups applauded the Obama Administration EPA’s efforts today as a critical step forward in what has been a tough political fight.

David Doniger, policy director of the Natural Resources Defense Council point out, “By setting timetables for issuing standards to cut dangerous carbon pollution from power plants and oil refineries, EPA is doing precisely what is needed to protect our health and welfare and provide businesses certainty at a time when some would prefer to roll back the clock. Clear pollution control standards also will help these industries plan future investments, fuel the economic recovery, and create jobs.” Any new boom creates jobs, the internet boom, computer boom, and so on. So why do we keep fighting the inevitable, and go forward 100 percent, and make this a commitment to be a world leader once again in this new, promising technology and future. Oh, that’s right, they can’t charge or tax you if you use the sun or wind for power, or can they?

There is one small problem though, in that with today’s ruling, this also sets in motion the template for many future fights between Congress and the Obama Administration White House as the Obama Administration, having lost what little leverage it had to pass new laws, uses the EPA’s authority to write new rules. According to Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan, the Republican set to take over the House Energy and Commerce Committee in January, “the administration is trying to regulate what they have been unable to legislate. This Christmas surprise is nothing short of a backdoor attempt to implement their failed job-killing cap-and-trade scheme.” Notice how the fear mongers always delight in bringing up job-loss, and job killing? Come on man, how anal retentive can you get, when doors close, others will open. Many new jobs which will last a lot longer than the future of oil or coal, and that will be much safer and healthier for that matter. Why do these people cling on to their old destructive ways is beyond me, except for the money they have been paid by Big Oil and Big Coal I would presume. Which brings me to another small, but significant point, Big Coal and Mountaintop Removal Mining. Mountaintop Removal Mining has cost tens of thousands of jobs in the coal mining industry, and is sooo bad for the environment, and people as well, but do you see our fearless leaders doing anything to stop it? This fact alone tells me what the motivating factors are in the Republicans agenda against clean energy, and it surely isn’t for the poor workers or nearby residents.

Which brings us back to our story here, and that is that coal fired power plants and oil refineries are the country’s largest sources of carbon dioxide, responsible for about 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. But efforts to impose caps on those emissions have been greeted with stiff resistance from Republicans and even some Democrats at every pass, like newly elected incoming Sen. Joe Manchin of coal-producing West Virginia, not to mention Gary Howell and David McKinley, both of whom ran their platforms on coal.

The debate over energy and climate change is expected to boil over next year as the new Republican controlled Congress is seated and in power. Several attempts at passing comprehensive energy legislation failed in the Senate earlier this year amid partisan bickering and even involved intra-party fighting. Supporters were hoping that an energy and environment bill would gain momentum after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, but the prospects look increasingly dim, and climate change legislation remains in limbo in the Senate.

The most comprehensive climate change legislation, proposed earlier this year by Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., included some incentives for offshore oil drilling to attract Republican support. But the environmental crisis on the Gulf coast nixed that deal. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., backed away from supporting the legislation even though he was one of the original sponsors of the bill.

When the Oil Party, or Republicans earlier in the year tried to block Democrats’ attempts at implementing any sort of “cap and trade” bill, saying that it will stifle businesses, and spread false fears that it would come down on Joe the Plummer. This may be true, as cap and tax as they like to call it, is just transferring cash, and CO2 emissions. The problem with cap and trade is that it really doesn’t address the issue at hand here, which is that we truly need to make significant reductions in our greenhouse gas emissions, not buy and sell them as commodities. We get Wall Street involved and other ‘brokers’, or scam artists I would prefer to call them involved, there is trouble ahead. So in certain ways, I do agree that we need a more comprehensive plan that really addresses the issue at hand. Senate Republicans also failed in their attempt in June to pass a bill that would have stripped the EPA of its authority to regulate greenhouse gases, thank God for that. They will stop at nothing to save there precious Oil and Coal blood money apparently, and so next month the real battle truly begins.

Who will win remains to be seen, but the stakes are getting higher at every non decision we make. Hopefully with all the weather phenomenon ongoing they will see the light at the end of the tunnel, like the Obama Administration EPA has with its greenhouse gas regulations announced today, and that light isn’t the Texaco Star my friend. Merry Christmas to all, as we may have gotten an early Christmas present this year, although the battle over greenhouse gas emissions has just begun, but we can relish the fact that some of us are making an effort to not completely destroy our beautiful home in the name of greed! Peace my friends and Happy Holidays from all of us here at Green Planet Ethics!

Another video from the EPA and ABC…
EPA Clears the air on greenhouse gases:

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