Barack Obama is moving full speed ahead with his climate agenda, bypassing Congress by pushing regulatory actions and executive orders.
A crop of regulations at the Environmental Protection Agency intends to restrict pollution from new and existing power plants by implementing new emissions standards. The battle lines are drawn. Democrats and environmentalists are complain about the GOP’s stand against crippling industry, while the GOP maintains that Obama is doing an end-run around Congress.
Obama said on Friday, “Unfortunately, what we’ve seen too often in Congress is that the fossil fuel industries tend to be very influential — let’s put it that way — on the energy committees in Congress and they tend not to be particularly sympathetic to alternative energy strategies.”
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, complained on Obama’s behalf, “He’s doing it with one hand tied behind his back.”
Heather White, executive director of the Environmental Working Group, chimed in, “It’s great that he’s taking this step through his administrative power. Congress is going to be a big challenge, as we know. But the science is clear and people are ready and they’re ready for his leadership.”
But GOP members, concerned that the regulations will cripple the coal industry and raise the price of gas and home energy, shot back. Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), chairman of the House’s subcommittee on energy policy, said, “Because it’s very difficult to pass any legislation, they’re doing more by regulatory actions and executive order. To think that [they] are really serious about removing coal from the equation of our energy needs is a big, big stretch.”