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Obama’s On-Again, Off-Again Climate Crusade Obama’s On-Again, Off-Again Climate Crusade

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Obama’s On-Again, Off-Again Climate Crusade

Obama's On-Again, Off-Again Climate Crusade

A comment by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse in The Hill caught my eye.


Explaining some of the reasons why he thinks climate hawks have momentum in 2014, the Rhode Island Democrat said: "For one thing, the president is backing it again, and the extreme weather is happening relentlessly around the country and world."

The "again" is telling.

These days, EPA plans to set carbon-emission standards for power plants are getting lots of attention, and President Obama set firm deadlines last June that will arrive later in his second term.


But the comment is a reminder that the Obama administration hasn't always been so aggressive on climate. Take those power plant standards. Under a late 2010 settlement with green groups, they were supposed to have been completed in mid-2012. (The settlement also called for emissions rules for refineries to be completed in late 2012, but that plan has dropped off the radar screen.)

Yesterday, defending an early part of Obama's climate efforts before the Supreme Court, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli highlighted the "urgency" of tackling climate change. The topic is getting plenty of White House attention these days, but as Whitehouse reminds us, that urgency hasn't always been there.

Ben Geman

P.S. — Can Obama create a legacy on climate change without Congress? Take the National Journal Energy Poll below.



By Clare Foran (@ckmarie)

MISSISSIPPI SPILL UNDERSCORES RISKS OF OIL BOOM. A barge accident that spilled enough oil to prompt temporary closure of a stretch of the Mississippi River highlights the potential for accidents as oil from the U.S. production boom is transported around the nation.

  • Our take: With railway accidents already in the spotlight, the barge accident shows the challenges before regulators as the drilling boom rolls on.

EPA CHIEF: ON CARBON RULES, GIVE PEACE A CHANCE. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy believes an upcoming proposal to set carbon-emissions standards for the nation's existing power plants doesn't have to become the stuff of familiar battles over climate change.

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JAPAN PLANS NUCLEAR REVIVAL. The island nation is taking a cautious step toward restarting its nuclear-power sector in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear meltdown.

WHO OWNS WEATHER, THE FEDS OR THE STATES? Lawmakers agree on the need to improve disaster relief, but the question of how is more complicated.

ARE HIGH NATURAL-GAS PRICES HERE TO STAY? Industrial users say a surge in prices could be permanent if a wave of exports is approved.

DEMOCRAT CALLS FOR FRESH KEYSTONE INVESTIGATION. Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona wants the Government Accountability Office to investigate State Department's hiring practices for contracting firms used to complete environmental impact assessments.

OIL EXPORTS GIVE U.S. ECONOMIC BOOST. A surge in exports of refined petroleum products is helping narrow the U.S. trade deficit.

CHINA GIVES U.S. RUN FOR ITS MONEY IN RENEWABLES. China is marching full speed ahead in clean energy installations and moving closer to closing the gap between itself and the U.S.

RADIATION AT FUKUSHIMA MAY BE HIGHER THAN THOUGHT. Tokyo Electric Power Company, the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan, said that previously carried out testing may have significantly underestimated radiation levels.

CALIFORNIA PLANS TO DO AWAY WITH THE PLASTIC BAG. Lawmakers in the Golden State are weighing a statewide ban on plastic bags.


NATIONAL JOURNAL ENERGY POLL: Can Obama establish a legacy on climate change without action by Congress?

A) Yes, actions taken by the administration are on track to make a significant impact.

B) Yes, but actions by the administration won't make much of an impact.

C) No, the administration could make an impact, but proposed measures won't go far enough.

D) No, any meaningful impact will require action by Congress.

Click here to respond


SHOULD THE U.S. INVEST IN NUCLEAR POWER? How does nuclear fit into the U.S. energy equation and what, if anything, should Washington do to support its deployment?

"With a focus on subsidizing a handful of new reactors, the administration has failed to introduce policies to reform the two biggest obstacles that could truly unleash the potential of commercial nuclear power: addressing nuclear waste management and creating a flexible and predictable regulatory path for new nuclear technologies." -Nick Loris, senior policy analyst, Heritage Foundation

Read the full responses from National Journal's Energy Insiders


HOUSE ENERGY HEARING. The House Natural Resources Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee holds a hearing entitled "American Energy Jobs: Opportunities for Veterans."

HOUSE RAIL HEARING. The House Transportation and Infrastructure Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee holds a hearing entitled "Oversight of Passenger and Freight Rail Safety."

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Samantha, Student

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