Browner: If Congress fails, EPA will act

White House climate adviser Carol Browner tells POLITICO the W.H. is encouraging Congress to pass energy reform legislation that would curb carbon emissions. But they are also sending a tougher message: If Congress doesn’t act, we will.

…MS. CUMMINGS: Now, you mentioned energy reform. Obviously, that legislation is starting to gear up in the Senate, and I wondered if you could tell me how involved the White House is in those negotiations and working with Senator Kerry, Lieberman, and Graham to try to craft some version of legislation.

MS. BROWNER: We’re very encouraged by the bipartisan of Kerry, Graham, and Lieberman. They have been working literally around the clock. We have been providing technical advice, and we look forward to seeing the comprehensive package that they are going to craft…

…MS. CUMMINGS: Now, if the legislation doesn’t make it through Congress, obviously, there are big steps ahead and the Republicans in the Senate are–some of them, at least, are gearing up to oppose it, and then you’ll have conference. So, there are a lot of steps ahead.

If it doesn’t make it through them all, will the Administration then use its authority through the Environmental Protection Agency to go ahead and move forward, and what would be the benefits or the risks of taking that particular route?

MS. BROWNER: Well, it’s important to remember how we started this debate. We started by saying we needed three things: We needed to break our dependence on foreign oil, we needed to create a new generation of clean energy jobs, and we need to reduce the dangerous pollutants that contribute to climate change. Already, we’re using our existing authorities to do just that, whether it’s new fuel efficiency standards for cars, a more enhanced domestic production, whether its energy efficiency standards, appliance standards. Over at DOE, we’re using our existing authority.

Now, EPA also has authority per the Supreme Court to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, and Administrator Jackson is working very, very carefully to make sure she does that in the best way for American businesses, and I’m very confident that that is what she will do, and we do take seriously our Supreme–the Supreme Court decision…

Read the entire interview at

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