A NEW DAY ON CLIMATE CHANGE…. Juliet Eilperin reports on the sweeping changes being made by the Obama Administration on environmental policy:
After the United States voiced support for the idea of a new, binding mercury treaty, the world community embraced it in Nairobi.
The rapid policy reversal is just one of more than a dozen environmental initiatives the new administration has undertaken in its first two months. In nearly every case, the decisions were based on extensive analysis and documentation that rank-and-file employees had prepared over the past couple of years, often in the face of contrary-minded Bush administration officials.
After years of chafing under political appointees who viewed stricter environmental regulation with skepticism, long-serving federal officials are seeing work that had been gathering dust for years translate quickly into action.
Some of these proposals include the creation of a national greenhouse gas registry, to put real numbers on emissions so industry can account for them; a halt to plans for mountaintop removal; real resources for prosecuting coal-fired power plants under the Clean Air Act for violations; a fresh look at granting a waiver to California and other states to regulate their own tailpipe emissions; and study of whether the EPA will regulate greenhouse gas emissions on their own. For all of this, the EPA is drawing on the work of career officials they were unable to put forward in the eight long years of the Bush Administration. Finally, employees of the EPA are allowed to write the rules again.
And the President has followed this up by announcing a series of global meetings over the next few months to discuss climate change and renewable energy issues, leading into the negotiations for a new global treaty in Copenhagen in December. While the Bush Administration also set up meetings, there was a sense by stakeholders that the plan was to talk the issue to death. Just looking at the work of the EPA, the Obama Administration is primed for action.