George Will wrong again on climate change issue

Today's Washington Post included George Will's regular op-ed column.  Although the column's topic was not climate change, he couldn't help himself but to try to bring the issue up.  He has been wrong so much on climate change, it is surprising (and disheartening) that the Post keeps publishing his errors.  (For more on this topic, Joe Romm at Climate Progress has written quite a bit).

From today's column:
Often the goals government pursues by surreptitious indirection are goals that could not win legislative majorities — e.g., the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation of greenhouse gases following Congress’s refusal to approve such policies.
This statement is wrong in almost every way.  He has completely missed with all three branches of government.

First - Congress passed the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, in which it directed EPA to regulate pollutants. Although CO2 was not directly named as a pollutant, EPA's Endangerment finding naming CO2 as a pollutant was upheld by the Supreme Court.  Perhaps Mr. Will doesn't like it, but he needs to bring it up with the Supreme Court, not EPA.

Second - EPA ignored this authority throughout much of the Bush administration, in violation of the Clean Air Act, which had been passed by Congress more than a decade earlier

Third - Because EPA was ignoring its obligation, some states sued.  The Supreme Court ordered EPA to regulate greenhouse gases.  Ordered.  Thus EPA is not just willy-nilly pursuing policies for fun, as he implies.  It is carrying out the Supreme Court's orders.

Even the word, "following" is wrong.  Massachusetts vs. EPA was decided in 2007, long before Obama took office and Waxman-Markey was passed in the house but not in the Senate.  So EPA had started down the path to greenhouse gas regulation before Congress took up legislation.

"Surreptitious indirection" is the term Will uses to describe EPA's regulation of greenhouse gases.  Surreptitious?  Seems pretty open and transparent to me.  Indirection?  That's what EPA was doing before being ordered by the Supreme Court to regulate.  Now it is directly following judicial orders.

I'm sure if he had tried, Will could have been wronger with this statement, but I'm not sure how.

No comments:

Post a Comment