Obama’s Undemocratic Plan for Central Planning on Carbon

Conn Carroll /

It is looking more and more likely that President Obama will not try to pass any new cap and trade legislation through Congress. This is not the good news it appears to be. Instead, Obama will try and marshal legal authority from existing statutes, primarily the Clean Air Act, to force the reorganization of the entire U.S. economy (all businesses use energy) without any meaningful input from the American people.

Yes, there will be new legislation with tons of pork barrel spending for ‘green jobs’ that will be part of whatever stimulus the Democratic Congress puts on Obama’s desk on January 20th. But this is only the spending side of the equation. After that look for the Obama administration to abandon the democratic process and focus on a 100% bureaucrat generated plan to cap carbon. Three pieces of evidence for you:

1) Obama appointed Georgetown law professor Lisa Heinzerling as co-chair of EPA transition team. She authored one of the key briefs for the Mass v. EPA Supreme Court case. She is also a big proponent of using the CAA to sanction state based regional cap and trade programs:

She and many other legal experts believe that under the Clean Air Act, the EPA can also administer a national cap-and-trade program by writing federal rules to unify independent regional carbon markets. Already, 23 states and four Canadian provinces are forming such markets, with 10 additional states being brought into the process as observers. Experts believe the EPA can promulgate an additional set of regulations that would control transportation emissions — everything from cars and trucks to boats and airplanes.

2) Obama appointed Center for American Progress senior fellow Robert Sussman as the other co-chair. Sussman is also big proponent of using the CAA to sanction state based regional cap and trade programs:

In fact, a new administration could enforce new global warming regulations with common sense, focusing on large emitters of greenhouse gases to achieve reasonable reductions while spurring trillions of dollars worth of economic growth and green-collar jobs.

3) This roadmap for administrative climate action has been widely circulated on the left too:

Understandably, in the absence of leadership from the present administration, a great deal of attention has focused on Congressional proposals to address climate change. Yet statutes already on the books provide much legal authority for swift action on this most pressing environmental problem. In this essay, we propose a wide and effective array of actions that the new administration could take – without new legislation – to begin to tackle climate change.

When the carbon capping debate is held out in the open, we crush the left every time. Open debate exposes the facts that carbon capping will kill the economy, will probably not reduce carbon emissions, and, even if it did, the emission reduction targets would not have any consequential effects on global temperatures. The left can net get away with sneaking this policy past the American people.