Now that President Bush has strengthened his hand with a Republican-controlled Congress, his once-doomed energy plan — which would provide $30 billion in tax cuts for the fossil-fuel and nuclear-power industries and open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling — stands a good chance of passing. Enviros are pinning their hopes on possible presidential contenders, John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.), who in the past have promised to filibuster any bill in the Senate that would allow drilling to begin. Meanwhile, Bush’s plan to increase logging in national forests as a way to combat wildfires will also be revived, and his proposal to create a more industry-friendly Clean Air Act will receive a warm welcome from GOPers in control of congressional committees. So much for regulating emissions of greenhouse gases, which had been a top policy goal of Sen. Jim Jeffords (I-Vt.), the outgoing chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee. And there’s more: Proponents of smart growth will face an uphill battle against the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and highway lobbyists as Congress debates major transportation legislation this session.
Get Grist in your inbox