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Bush’s Gift to Energy Companies or to Barack Obama?

1 January, 2009

As I wrote on the 20th of November, Bush is leaving behind several “time bombs” for Obama.  Today, The Los Angeles Times features a story about Bush’s “gift to the energy companies The title suggests that the Bush Administration is trying to help the Obama Administration by giving it some “breathing room” before it has to enact climate control and energy policies.  How has he done this?

…his administration has moved to close what it calls “back doors” to regulating carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

It barred the Environmental Protection Agency from considering the effects of global warming on protected species. And, more broadly, it excluded carbon dioxide from a list of pollutants that the EPA regulates under the Clean Air Act. (emphasis mine)

How will this help, you ask?  According to energy lobbyists,

…the Bush administration’s actions give Obama time and political cover to take a more deliberative approach to emissions regulation and avoid overly broad, overly swift rules that could slow construction projects for schools and businesses, not just power plants.

If you believe that the energy companies give a damn about school and business construction projects being slowed down, then I guess the argument works for you.

Environmentalists call the memo a gift to the coal industry and utilities.

And just in case you think they are engaging in fear-mongering again, take a look at the last paragraph of the article.

Energy companies have taken quick notice of the EPA memo: Duke Energy Corp., headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., recently cited the document in a court filing supporting its bid to build a new coal-fired plant in Indiana. (emphasis mine).

As with all other issues, we can’t be sure where Obama stands on climate control, protection of the environment, and gas-house emissions.  They are all thorny issues, and Bush has made them thornier.  How will the Obama administration responde?  We can only wait and see.

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