Jack N. Gerard
- Bachelor’s degree in political science and a juris doctor from George Washington University. 
On Friday, the federal government released its long-awaited draft regulations for the phase-out of coal-fired power in Canada...
Just over a month before the United Nations convenes on September 23 in New York City to discuss climate change and activists gather for a week of action, the Obama White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) argued it does not have to offer guidance to federal agencies it coordinates with to consider climate change impacts for energy decisions.
It came just a few weeks before a leaked draft copy of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) latest assessment said climate disruption could cause “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.”
Initially filed as a February 2008 petition to CEQ by the International Center for Technology Assessment, the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) when George W. Bush still served as President, it had been stalled for years.
Six and a half years later and another term into the Obama Administration, however, things have finally moved forward. Or backwards, depending on who you ask.
The initial February 2008 legal petition issued by the plaintiffs was rather simple: the White House's Council for Environmental Quality (CEQ) should provide guidance to federal agencies it coordinates with to weigh climate change impacts when utilizing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) on energy policy decisions.
Magna Carta; Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
CEQ oversees major tenets of environmental, energy and climate policy. It often serves as the final arbiter on many major legislative pushes proposed by Congress and federal agencies much in the same way the White House's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) does for regulatory policy.
After more than 20 years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finally set federal limits on how much mercury pollution power plants can release into the atmosphere. The fact that the power industry has been able to dump unlimited amounts of mercury and other toxics into the skies (and eventually into the ocean and tuna) without penalty for so long is mind-boggling.
Unless, that is, you ask industry groups and their friends in Congress, who are already parroting the same talking points they bring out every time a new pollution control appears – despite the fact that the Clean Air Act turns out to be a bargain for America over and over again.
In a Dec. 7, 2007 letter to Members of the U.S. Senate (below), a cabal of energy producers and big polluters have attacked the State-level efforts to toughen global warming regulations, supporting instead the almost irrelevant measures currently in place at the national level.
Rather than deal with California-driven emission limits that would actually limit emissions, the lobbyists said: “The vehicle efficiency improvement standard and the alternative fuels provisions in the President Bush's energy proposals and in the energy legislation are preferred approaches.”
If he was capable of embarrassment, this would be a moment for President George Bush to blush.
Rep. Nick Rahall's (D-W.VA) energy reform bill will be the center of debate on Capitol Hill this week, and energy lobbyists are swinging into action. Two of the most contentious sections of the Rahall Bill will see an extension of drilling permit approvals from 30 days to 90 and limit royalties to oil companies.One of the main opponents to the Rahall Bill is an industry group called the “Alliance for Energy and Economic Growth” (AEEG).