Kerry-Graham-Lieberman Climate Bill Could Make Matters Worse

Months have passed since the Senate trio took up the task of cobbling together a climate bill that everyone might agree on. However, as details continue to be revealed about the draft legislation, many an eyebrow is being raised over certain provisions that could prove a step backward for environmental protection.

In wide-sweeping attempts to court business interests and Senate moderates, the legislation cuts back on the power of other regulatory entities – like the EPA and state governments. Lindsay Graham told Politico:

“I wouldn’t support EPA regulation on top of congressional action, and I couldn’t support 50 states coming up with their own standards,” he said. “That’s one thing business legitimately needs.”

Environmental activists have long been prepared for a disappointing, compromise-ridden bill – but the common wisdom has always been “something is better than nothing.” The danger now is that this bill, as written, would actually do more harm than good.

Much to the chagrin of polluting companies, the Environmental Protection Agency has been extremely effective in cleaning up our air and water. Air quality has improved tremendously since the agency was established in 1970, as the American Enterprise Institute unwittingly pointed out.

Congress, on the other hand, has a long history of pandering to the oil and coal lobbies, among others. Considering that any bill that comes out of Congress is bound to be riddled with loopholes, the regulatory power of the EPA would probably be the only hope for making sure businesses truly cut down on their carbon emissions. A number of green groups, including 1Sky and Sierra Club, are pressuring lawmakers to uphold the regulatory authority of the EPA.

Another huge blow would be dealt by restricting state and local governments which, up to now, have been responsible for the most ambitious climate action this country has seen. More than 20 states currently participate in regional cap-and-trade programs, and many states have employed renewable energy standards to promote clean energy. Pending legislation would block these programs, likely forcing many states to accept far lower carbon caps.

This is what happens when you try to write a clean energy and climate bill and invite oil and gas companies to the table.

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3 Comments

Filed under Environment

3 responses to “Kerry-Graham-Lieberman Climate Bill Could Make Matters Worse

  1. pyeatte

    Well, we need oil and gas and will need it for a long time to come. Best for the country if the oil companies are allowed to explore and produce everywhere. Technology will enable great results.

    The air and water in this country is so much better today than it was in the 60s and 70s. You don’t need to force things. Just get a great economy going again and the environment will improve even more but have a sever recession or depression and no one will give a damn about the environment.

  2. Phocus

    Lindsey Graham is one senator that would do well to start packing up his office. He’ll get a pink slip as soon as the voters can get one to him.

  3. Pyeatte, why would we need oil and gas for a long time to come? Texas alone has enough wind and solar energy to power the entire country.

    Oil and natural gas companies are only able to operate profitably because of huge federal government subsidies. We can just get the economy going by leveling the playing field and allowing renewable technology to compete fairly with fossil fuel companies.

    The only reason that the air and water in this country is better today is because states have led the way in restricting greenhouse gas emissions and incentivizing renewable energy trade ups.

    Look to the Cantwell-Collins bill, not Kerry-Spam-Liarman to put the U.S. on a path to energy security through renewable investments.

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