Really, who needs Congress anymore?
Certainly not the Executive Branch of the U.S. Government, which is busy game-planning end runs around Congress on education, wireless infrastructure, immigration and now climate change.
Gina McCarthy, whom President Barack Obama nominated to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) back in March, told an audience of academics at the University of Colorado Wednesday that the President’s June 25 climate change speech at Georgetown University represented a watershed moment of Presidential will to do something about global warming – with or without Congress’ help.
“Essentially, he said that it is time to act. And he said he wasn’t going to wait for Congress, but that he had administrative authorities and that it was time to start utilizing those more effectively and in a more concerted way,” said McCarthy.
What does that mean? McCarthy wasn’t specific – no surprise there – but she indicated Obama is likely to use his very pliable EPA to look for ways to implement innovative (and costly) carbon swaps, regulations and energy standards at the Federal level, while borrowing green-initiative ideas from cities – like Boulder – that have adopted them.
“[We will] start paying attention to what’s going on in states and cities like Colorado and Boulder, and to start learning what you have already learned and to start getting the federal government to take the responsibility that it must take to face the challenge of climate change,” she said.
“…We’re going to do this this year, next year, the following year, until people understand these are not scary things to do, these are actions we can all do, they’re actions that benefit everybody, that will grow the economy, and they’re actions that will protect the health and safety of individuals.”
The President’s Climate Action Plan Fact Sheet lists some of the visionary ideas Obama plans to channel through the administrative power of the EPA, without any Congressional oversight – even those “policies” (a.k.a. “laws”) that effectively raise fees and taxes while instituting punitive fines.
Taken straight from the White House Fact Sheet, Obama’s plan:
•Directs EPA to work closely with states, industry and other stakeholder to establish carbon pollution standards for both new and existing power plants;
•Makes up to $8 billion in loan guarantee authority available for a wide array of advanced fossil energy and efficiency projects to support investments in innovative technologies;
•Directs DOI to permit enough renewables project—like wind and solar – on public lands by 2020 to power more than 6 million homes; designates the first-ever hydropower project for priority permitting; and sets a new goal to install 100 megawatts of renewables on federally assisted housing by 2020; while maintaining the commitment to deploy renewables on military installations;
•Expands the President’s Better Building Challenge, focusing on helping commercial, industrial, and multi-family buildings cut waste and become at least 20 percent more energy efficient by 2020;
•Sets a goal to reduce carbon pollution by at least 3 billion metric tons cumulatively by 2030 – more than half of the annual carbon pollution from the U.S. energy sector – through efficiency standards set over the course of the Administration for appliances and federal buildings;
•Commits to partnering with industry and stakeholders to develop fuel economy standards for heavy-duty vehicles to save families money at the pump and further reduce reliance on foreign oil and fuel consumption post-2018; and
•Leverages new opportunities to reduce pollution of highly-potent greenhouse gases known as hydrofluorocarbons; directs agencies to develop a comprehensive methane strategy; and commits to protect our forests and critical landscapes.
In keeping with Obama’s pattern, verbs like “establish,” “expand” and “leverage” have more transparent meanings: “regulate,” “borrow/subsidize” and “tax.” Look for the EPA – not Congress – to expedite Obama’s fallacious, myopic “green” revolution.