Another Senator paddling backwards on climate (are we up a creek yet?)

News reports yesterday have the moderate Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), at a meeting in his home state, expressing firm opposition to EPA’s regulation of greenhouse gases.  Here’s a link to the short video clip on YouTube.  Up in the air is whether this means he will support any of the formal measures being considered by the Senate to strip EPA of some regulatory powers under the Clean Air Act, such as Sen. Rockefeller’s proposal for a two-year delay in regulating GHGs from stationary sources. 

According to Greenwire (sub. req’d.), Baucus took the increasingly popular line that Congress, rather than an administrative agency, should be responsible for creating GHG policy and “deal[ing] with complex, multisource issues.”  Put aside for a moment the fact that EPA is merely acting as *already* directed by Congress, in its enactment of the Clean Air Act.  The real problem is that Congress seems incapable of dealing with this issue precisely because of its complexity and entanglement with multiple sources (aka multiple interest groups).  If we backpaddle and strip authority from the relatively sheltered agencies before any indication that Congress will, indeed, take action, aren’t we just up a creek?

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Reader Comments

7 Replies to “Another Senator paddling backwards on climate (are we up a creek yet?)”

  1. Senator Baucus seems to understand there are serious flaws, discrepancies, and misleading information in the climate change movement, and he is merely exercising reasonable caution. Thanks Senator Baucus for adopting a cautious and morally correct approach to this dark and contentious political movement.

  2. Welcome back Cara, and, far too belatedly, congratulations.

    The calls for a moratorium are mystifying to me. We just had an effective moratorium, thanks to the White House refusal to look at the email from EPA detailing the science. In the meantime, Congress made almost no attempt to figure things out. The only thing that makes sense to me is that Rockefeller is stalling in hopes that a future Senate is more willing to cut a big deal to his campaign contributors.

    Of course, I could look at like bqrq does and cla that anything that happens is because everyone secretly agrees with me. For instance, I think Baucus is upset that EPA isn’t claiming authority to reduce off-street parking requirements, and he wants any greenhouse gas regulation effort to confront this crucial problem. Therefore, climate change regulation must deal with such policies. I congratulate Baucus for recognizing that. (See how easy that was, bqrq?)

  3. Dear nemesisofevil;
    I do not assume that everyone secretly agrees with me. I give credit to Senator Baucus for his intellectual honesty and personal integrity. It is a notable inspiration when a leading Democrat Senator critically analyzes climate science, because this has provided an object lesson for others to follow. Senator Baucus has empowered Democrats to question climate science and he deserves a lot of credit for this public service.

  4. Last week, at the same event that Cara describes above, Sen. Baucus said, “Climate change is a real issue that has to be addressed….” (see http://www.greatfallstribune.com/article/20101006/NEWS01/10060301/Baucus+talks+climate+control++estate+taxes). Last year, he said, “We cannot afford the unmitigated impacts of climate change….” http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1009/28781.html.

    He is not expressing any skepticism about climate science. He is acknowledging the problem and expressing concern about how we should address it.

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About Cara

Cara Horowitz

Cara Horowitz is the co-executive director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at UCLA School of Law. The Emmett Institute was founded as the f…

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