What Next For Obama And The Environment?

Posted by | September 16, 2011 17:22 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

The decision by President Obama to stop EPA standards on ozone has been justifiably controversial.  It leaves open the question, however, of what happens to the rest of the environmental standards scheduled to be released over the next year.  National Journal has both perspectives:

Many National Journal Energy and Environment Insiders say that President Obama’s retreat on environmental issues isn’t over yet.

Over half of Insiders responding said that Obama is likely to delay imposition of other new environmental regulations, with 15 percent calling the prospect “very likely” and 39 percent deeming it “somewhat likely.”

“The only decision metric that matters for the next 14 months is, ‘Will this help us get reelected?’ ” said one Insider. “If a regulatory decision is a liability, we should fully expect the administration to delay until Nov. 7” of 2012—the day after the presidential election.

Another Insider said that Obama “will likely pick and choose by delaying those rules his advisers believe are too politically damaging to pursue before 2013 and finalizing those that he can survive politically.”

On the other hand:

Nearly half of Insiders responding—46 percent—said they don’t expect further retreat by the White House from EPA rules. And about half of those called further retreat “very unlikely,” with some saying that the ground-level ozone decision actually gives Obama cover to move forward on other fronts.

“I don’t think he can afford to do it” politically, one Insider said of any further moves that would anger environmentalists. “He already has his pro-business, political talking point for 2012 with the moves on ozone and Keystone,” referring to the administration’s tentative green light on the Keystone XL pipeline project, which would carry Canada’s tar sands oil to Gulf Coast refineries.

A split decision.  My guess is that means he will go ahead with some standards and not others.  Let’s hope he picks wisely.

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Copyright 2011 Liberaland
By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.

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