Lame-Duck Caution

NCPA Expert: Four Legislative Efforts Are "Must-Watch"

DALLAS - Fearing a lame-duck Congress might attempt to ram through costly and ineffective environmental legislation, action on four environmental initiatives is critical both to improve the U.S. economy and protect the environment, according to NCPA Senior Fellow H. Sterling Burnett.

"Two of these bills should never see the light of day," Dr. Burnett said.  "First, Congress must prevent the EPA from moving forward with its back-door energy tax in the form of climate regulations; second, Congress should not impose a costly renewable portfolio standard."

"If Congress wants to restrict energy use by raising costs, it should vote up or down on the proposal," Burnett added.  However, since Congress has been unwilling to do so, it appears that the Obama Administration is trying to do so via agency regulation of greenhouse gases. 

"In addition, even with huge subsidies, renewable energy only makes sense in some parts of the country," Burnett added, "in states that don't currently have a renewable energy mandate, legislators have decided that imposing expensive, unreliable renewable energy on their citizens is a bad idea."

Burnett also said that Congress should keep all of the Bush tax cuts and not override the Supreme Court's latest string of wetlands decisions:

  • The Bush tax cuts: "Every year millions of acres of private forests are sold to housing and commercial developers or logged prematurely just to pay the death tax. It's bad for the environment and bad for social welfare," Burnett said.
  • "Removing the word, navigable, from the Clean Water Act will put the federal government into virtually everyone's business even more than it already is," said Burnett. "If wetlands provide a public service, then the public should compensate those who have managed those lands, as provided for in the Constitution, rather than imposing those costs on private landowners."

Burnett also noted that adverse action in these four legislative areas during the lame-duck session could bind the newly elected Congress that will be seated in January. 

Read more about legislative environmental initiatives at Dr. Burnett's environmental blog-  Even Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, a Democrat, is getting into the act.