Playing Chicken


Today’s Wall Street Journal — the news section — covers the political game of hot potato over who gets the blame for making everything you buy more expensive:

The Environmental Protection Agency has sent the White House a proposed finding that carbon dioxide is a danger to public health, a step that could trigger a clampdown on emissions of greenhouse gases across a wide swath of the economy.

If approved by the White House Office of Management and Budget, the endangerment finding could clear the way for the EPA to use the Clean Air Act to control emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases believed to contribute to climate change. In effect, the government would treat carbon dioxide as a pollutant. The EPA submitted the proposed rule to the White House on Friday, according to federal records published Monday.

Such a finding would raise pressure on Congress to enact a system that caps greenhouse gases — which trap the sun’s heat in the earth’s atmosphere — and creates a market for businesses to buy and sell the right to emit them, as President Barack Obama has proposed.

A White House representative said Monday that Mr. Obama’s “strong preference is for Congress to pass energy security legislation that includes a cap on greenhouse-gas emissions. The Supreme Court ruled that the EPA must review whether greenhouse-gas emissions pose a threat to public health or welfare, and this is simply the next step in what will be a long process that engages stakeholders and the public.”

I’d say this actually raises pressure on Congress — not to do something Euro-stupid, but to pass a one-liner saying the Clean Air Act as written was not designed or intended for this purpose (a la Blackburn).

Wouldn’t congress want to proceed on the biggest regulatory and tax scheme in history through careful deliberation (and therefore with public input)? Oh . . . right . . . of course not.


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