Back in Black
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.