Fearing the EPA
Kate has a great piece today about some of the nation’s polluters embracing once-dreaded regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency in order to fend off the tougher House climate bill. But at least one group has added a twist. The Western Business Roundtable, an industry coalition opposed to the Waxman-Markey bill, issued a statement yesterday saying that its members would much rather have Congress monitoring them for compliance with new emission standards than it would the EPA.
Congress is best suited to determine how a national greenhouse gas emissions reduction program should work. Therefore, any bill should explicitly preempt the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.
Translation: They want Congress to empower Congress to do the EPA’s job.
This is an odd argument, considering that the EPA scientists would know vastly more about emissions science than any lawmaker on the Hill. So what does the Roundtable have in mind? Well, for one thing, the group appears to recognize that elected lawmakers are influenced much more easily by public outrage than unelected EPA officials. It also seems to be well aware of lawmakers’ tendency to protect regional industries, even when that protection runs counter to national interests. Having Congress monitor compliance with new emission guidelines would almost guarantee that the rules wouldn’t be enforced as strictly, to the polluters’ benefit. Indeed, it’s groups like the Roundtable that are spending millions of dollars to ensure that leniency.