Years ago, riding high and wide as the administration’s energy czar, Mr. Cheney promised — privately in meetings with corporate contributors, and publicly in his infamous 2001 energy report — to strip the Clean Air Act of an important provision that had driven his friends in the electric power industry to distraction.
So far, he has not succeeded.
Congress has ignored him and the courts have rebuffed him. The Clean Air Act remains (as of now) more or less intact, while the embarrassment to Mr. Cheney has been considerable. (Among other things, his efforts to undermine the law as well as other slights effectively drove Christie Whitman, Mr. Bush’s first administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency, into retirement.)
Still he soldiers on, a kind of Don Quixote of environmental de-regulation, and if he has his way, the administration is likely to make one last effort to undermine the law.
But Mr. Cheney sunk his teeth into this one seven years ago, and if we’ve learned anything about the outgoing vice president, it is that he is not going to slide gently into political retirement without a few final fusillades at a clean-air regime that, for whatever reason, he is dead-set against.