The New York Times reports that senior Republicans are saying they will aggressively attack our administration’s environmental and climate change initiatives if their party wins a majority in the House of Representatives. EPA will be on the defensive, using its resources to defend against these attacks rather than move forward with regulatory initiatives that both have been required by the courts and are supported by evidence.
At the same time, industry lobbyists – especially those representing oil, coal, and large manufacturers – are pushing the lame-duck Congress to strip away EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gases from stationary sources even before the next Congress is seated. Several key Democrats have been wavering or negative toward EPA authority in this area already.
Unfortunately, in the absence of federal climate and energy legislation, these developments likely mean that the federal government will be hamstrung from doing anything significant at all to combat climate change, possibly for years to come. Even more than before, state regulatory initiatives, including California’s, will matter. But anyone who has been following this issue knows that the U.S.’s actions at the federal level will be necessary for our country to participate meaningfully in international climate discussions and indeed to have any moral authority in addressing climate change internationally. This is depressing news.