U.S. Chamber Reloads to Fight Climate Regs
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue wants Congress to reconsider the proposed climate regulations and other policies that he says will raise costs for businesses and slow economic recovery, reports the New York Times. Meanwhile, energy businesses and environmentalists are focused on lobbying efforts aimed at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), according to a separate New York Times article.
Donohue said during his annual speech to the Chamber of Commerce that the new taxes, regulations and mandates under consideration are a “sure-fire recipe for a double-dip recession, or worse,” reports the New York Times.
President Obama has proposed an additional $5 billion for manufacturing tax credits, rebates for home weatherization, tax breaks for small businesses, and loans and grants for highway, rail, transit, aviation and water projects as a way to spur job creation, reports the New York Times.
Donohue believes that House-passed legislation, which would create a greenhouse gas emissions cap-and-trade system and set renewable energy targets, would hurt the economy and eliminate jobs, reports the New York Times. Still, the Chamber of Commerce prefers emissions legislation over EPA regulations, according to the article.
However, the Chamber has lost three high profile utilities including PG&E, PMN and Exelon due to the organization’s stance on climate change. Apple and Mohawk Fine Paper also decided to leave the organization, and Nike, in protest, gave up its chamber board seat.
While the Chamber of Commerce focuses on Congress, energy companies and environmental groups have set their sights on lobbying efforts toward the EPA, reports the New York Times.
While energy businesses are against the EPA regulating greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act, which is expected in March, environmentalists want the agency to move quickly to regulate major emission sources, reports the New York Times. If the agency imposes restrictions, industry wants them delayed until 2012 or later, according to the article.
Industry advocates say federal regulations will conflict with state rules, and the EPA might try to govern what kinds of power plants can be built, favoring cleaner fuel sources over coal, reports the New York Times.
Energy companies and trade groups also are talking to lawmakers about how EPA’s plan could adversely impact utilities, coal companies, and the oil and gas industry, reports the New York Times.
Steve Corneli, senior vice president of market and climate policy for NRG Energy Inc., told the New York Times that the EPA will have a difficult time issuing regulations that don’t trigger lawsuits.
Ted Gayer, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution think tank and a senior economist at the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers from 2003 to 2004, said in the article that interested parties typically can influence a federal agency through the rulemaking process, but climate policy is different than most issues. He thinks the only way to impact the EPA is via the courts.
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