Sen. Murkowski's CLEAR option on carbon regulation
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and 35 other senators yesterday introduced a bill that would strip the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating carbon. I understand their concerns about the impact EPA action would have on the economy. But pulling the reigns on the revived agency isn't the answer. Proactive congressional action is.
Not long after assuming office last year, President Obama made it clear that he believes the best way to regulate greenhouse gas emissions is for Congress to pass a comprehensive climate change bill. At the same, to give the House and Senate needed incentive to take action, Obama unleashed the EPA to look at regulating carbon under the Clean Air Act. Clearly, the threat of faceless bureaucrats pulling the strings on a significant swath of the nation's economy wasn't enough. Only the House has passed a climate bill. And a deeply flawed one at that.
"We're being presented with a false choice between unacceptable legislation and unacceptable regulations," Murkowski said yesterday. No, what's false is the notion that there isn't a common-sense bill on Capitol Hill worthy of consideration. Such a measure exists. It's called the Carbon Limits and Energy for America's Renewal or CLEAR Act sponsored by Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine). In short, it would establish a cap-and-rebate system. A declining cap on greenhouse gas emissions would be set. Pollution permits would be auctioned to industry. And 75 percent of the proceeds would be rebated to the American people through monthly checks on an equal per capita basis. That could mean $1,000 returned to a family of four over the course of a year.
“Make no mistake, if Congress allows this to happen there will be severe consequences,” Murkowski said of the EPA's moves. Congress doesn't have to "allow this to happen." It could give serious consideration to the Cantwell-Collins bill. If passed it would finally put the United States in a leadership position on climate change.
| January 22, 2010; 8:05 AM ET
Categories: Capehart | Tags: Jonathan Capehart
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