Today’s Betting Line: EPA Regulation Before Legislation is Enacted

Boston Celtics’ fans know the phrase “fiddlin’ and diddlin.” Well, the Senate continues to fiddle and diddle over climate change legislation. Those who have worked with Gina McCarthy, current EPA air chief, know that she has probably never fiddled or diddled in her life, and I certainly don’t expect her to do so with respect to GHG regulation under existing Clean Air Act authority in the absence of comprehensive legislation. As a result, it now seems likely that EPA will be issuing climate change regulations before any legislation is enacted.

What’s the basis for this conclusion? First, the Senate side:

E&E Daily reported today that Senate leaders are not planning to bring the cap-and-trade bill to the floor until after work on health care and financial regulation bills has been completed.

Senator Webb today “blasted” cap-and-trade legislation as “enormously complex.” (Even with a tailoring rule, good luck eliminating the complexity from EPA regulation under current authority)

So, things aren’t exactly cooking with gas on the legislation front. What’s up at EPA?

Last week, EPA sent the endangerment rule to OMB for final review

EPA’s stakeholder group on the tailoring rule has been hard at work at work and expects to have a preliminary report out by the end of the year. The Daily Environment Report gives a good flavor of the complexities faced by this project, but there is no question that the group and EPA are moving forward.

The bottom line is that unless a health care bill passes soon, and unless passage relieves a bottleneck in the legislative pipeline, we will all be participating in the experiment to see if EPA can make climate change regulation work under existing CAA authority.

May you live in interesting times.

2 thoughts on “Today’s Betting Line: EPA Regulation Before Legislation is Enacted

  1. …and the 24-second clock is ticking. There is reportedly a very strong desire among the Administration to show up with at least a “glass half full” at the December 6-18 UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.

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