Boxer says she’ll let a President Obama lead on greenhouse gas bill
OK. The chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee didn’t quite say that, at least not directly. But E&E News PM reports ($ub. req’d):
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) expects to take her cues on climate in the 111th Congress from the next president.
The chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee told reporters here today that the next administration — whether led by a Democrat or a Republican — will likely set the pace when it comes to moving a greenhouse gas reduction bill through the House and Senate.
“It all depends on what the president wants,” said Boxer, in response to a question on whether she would reintroduce her own bill. “If the president wants the same bill back, we do it.”
Her plan is to reach out to the next administration “the day after Election Day” to talk principles on climate legislation, she said. Whether the chief executive is Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) or Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) matters little on global warming, she added, as she expects “a friendly administration either way.”
But would she have said that if Obama weren’t six points ahead in the polls? After all, McCain’s proposed climate plan is far, far weaker than Boxer’s. And even that assumes climate regulation remains a priority for McCain. The point should be moot in six days. Here’s the rest of the story:
Boxer, along with Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and John Warner (R-Va.), led a Senate floor debate this spring on a cap-and-trade bill that sought emission cuts of about 70 percent below 2005 levels by midcentury. But the legislation did not come close to passage, as Republicans presented both procedural and political challenges.
The one policy priority Boxer did identify today is protecting California and other early-acting states from losing out to a federal bill. Boxer said she intends to see that California, especially, gets credit for leading the way on climate with an aggressive law that would cut emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, starting in 2012.
Moreover, Boxer indicated that the next go-round on federal legislation could cede much of its design to California’s AB 32, which set the big-picture targets but left the implementation details to the state’s Air Resources Board. A federal bill, she said, could give U.S. EPA the same authority rather than get mired in the sticky policy details.
“It will be up to negotiations we have with the next administration,” she said.
Much more on this crucial subject post-election.