Will Webb Stand Against Obama's Energy Agenda?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Posted by The Green Miles

As the months-long health insurance reform debate has kept Congress from attending to other issues, President Obama's Environmental Protection Agency has been moving forward with regulating global warming pollution under the Clean Air Act. The Obama administration would prefer to regulate carbon emissions with a legislative fix like an efficient cap & trade system. But the longer Congress dawdles and oil imports rise and the planet warms, the more pressure builds on the EPA to act.

Some senators under the thumb of polluters are trying to stop the EPA, with Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) literally letting coal lobbyists tell her staff how to gut the Clean Air Act's protections. And now there's word a Democrat could join join the polluter-led attack on progress. Could it be Virginia's own Jim Webb?
[Murkowski] Spokesman Robert Dillon said that one Democrat has signed on, though he was not able to confirm the identity of the Democrat. There are, however, plenty of ideas about who this Democratic cosponsor may be. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), Jim Webb (D-Va.), Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), and Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), all previously on record voicing concerns about carbon regulation, have all been floated as possible sign-ons.
Is Sen. Webb the Democrat in question? His office hasn't responded to Blue Virginia's request for comment over the holiday weekend.

Sen. Webb has already declared his discomfort with comprehensive clean energy & climate legislation supported by President Obama, passed by the House, and being negotiated in the Senate right now by a bipartisan coalition -- Senators John Kerry, Lindsay Graham and Joe Lieberman.

But would he really go one step further and gut the Clean Air Act's Congressionally-approved, Supreme Court-validated protections? Such a move would be a free license to massive emitters to pollute as much as they want.

While we've had an unusually cold winter so far in the U.S., other parts of the world have been unusually warm. Temperatures have been a startling 10-15 degrees above normal in the Artic. Webb wrote in "What It Means To Be A Leader" that "you and your grandchildren will be the inheritors of both our successes and flaws." Unless Sen. Webb wakes up soon, future generations could be paying for his indifference to our climate crisis.

And if Sen. Webb really is willing to join the Republican effort to torpedo this item, what message does that send about Sen. Webb's willingness to support the rest of President Obama's agenda?