Climate bill’s ’emergency provision’ gives Obama strong-man powers

By: EXAMINER EDITORIAL HOT ZONE ALERT
Washington Examiner
November 10, 2009

Both the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade energy approved earlier this year and the version just okayed by Sen. Barbara Boxer’s Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s Democrats (Republicans boycotted the vote) contains an obscure but nasty bureaucratic provision that requires President Obama to act like Venezuelan strong man Hugo Chavez.

Here’s how: The bills require a federal declaration of a “climate emergency” if world greenhouse gas levels reach 450 parts per million. Guess what? The Pacific Northwest National Lab says it is a virtual certainty that level will be reached within a few months. The bill then requires the president to “direct all Federal agencies to use existing statutory authority to take appropriate actions…to address shortfalls” in achieving needed greenhouse gas reductions.

When [Sen. David] Vitter asked EPA Administrator what would be done in such a situation, she refused to say. So it must be asked: Would the president be empowered to do things like nationalize whole sectors of industry, ban coal use, restrict private automobile use, or anything else the “emergency” requires?

The Examiner’s David Freddoso reports that Sen. David Vitter, R-LA, is holding a news conference later today concerning this provision. Vitter wonders if companies that support cap-and-trade in the hope they will profit from going green realize what could happen to them soon after enactment. More to the point, we wonder what the American people will do when they realize what is actually going on here.

In a detailed post on BigGovernment.com, Competitive Enterprise Institute scholar and environmental expert Chris Horner warns that this provision is clearly intended to concentrate power in an unprecedented manner:

“But as we have been warning you in detail, this agenda transparently is not about GHG concentrations, or the climate. It’s about what this provision would bring: Almost limitless power over private economic activity and individual liberty for the activist president and, for the reluctant leader, litigious greens and courts that in this case would only have two choices. Those are follow the law, or declare it unconstitutional knowing the predilections of the appellate courts and what will very soon be Obama’s Supreme Court.”

UPDATED: CEI’s Horner says it’s about power, not climate.

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