No Quit At The EPA

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One has to wonder if the Obama administration is changing its stripes a bit and may be more prepared to fight for its programs. Their renewed commitment to getting healthcare through come hell or high-water is one example and a speech from Lisa Jackson on greenhouse gases is another.

The EPA’s threat to regulate the gases throughout the economy was seen a few months ago as the guillotine hovering over the head of Congress that would force it to move forward on some sort of legislation. As attention was diverted away from climate change legislation by the fight over healthcare and a fairly widespread defection among Democrats towards it took hold, the conventional wisdom has had it that the EPA wouldn’t act and Congress would have no appetite for another fight this year.

Ms. Jackson has at least dispelled the notion that EPA is backing off. Politico quotes her thusly:

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson defended controversial new rules Monday that would slash greenhouse gases across the economy, taking on critics from both sides of the aisle who want to delay the regulations.

“At no point in our history has any problem been solved by waiting another year to act,” Jackson said at the National Press Club, arguing that the new rules could spur job creation by encouraging companies to create new, lower-carbon technologies.

Having ceded responsibility for moving lots of these big ideas to the Democratic majority in Congress come to rather disastrous conclusions, has the administration concluded that they will have to pick up the gauntlet and move their pet programs through themselves? It looks as if that might be indeed the case and it also appears as if they aren’t ready to admit defeat on greenhouse gases anymore than they are on healthcare.

Given the antipathy for these programs among the electorate, it seems politically foolish to pursue them, yet it seems as if that may be the last thing on the minds of the administration. Perhaps we should start taking Obama at his word when he says that he is willing to be a one term president if that’s what it takes to pass legislation he deems important. The problem, of course, is that he risks taking a lot of other Democrats out earlier than they might prefer.

Putting that aside, I have a feeling that we haven’t seen the last of climate legislation. There are a lot of true believers in the administration and if Lisa Jackson is to be taken at her word, they are not backing off. Zealots have short half lives but they burn brightly and before they burn out.

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