Already deep in an environmental disaster -- far deeper than our politicians are willing to face -- a Romney administration and a Republican majority in either the House or the Senate would dig us even deeper. Start with Romney -- or, for that matter, an Obama administration hobbled by Congress:
Mr. Romney has proposed excluding greenhouse gases from the Clean Air Act, reversing new mercury standards for coal and slowing the advent of automobile fuel efficiency standards, and he could be expected to use his executive and regulatory powers to make policy adjustments. Nevertheless, he would probably need support from Congress and the courts to veer radically off the established Obama course.With the economy still weak and the federal government in financial crisis, new energy tax incentives, mandates and subsidies are pretty much off the table, no matter who is elected in November. Politicians of both parties have learned from the Solyndra fiasco about the risks, financial and political, of spending taxpayer money on solar and other renewables, given their continuing problems competing in the marketplace. Even the wind production tax credit, so crucial to the expansion of wind farms around the country, is about to expire, and wind power companies are letting workers go. ...NYT
A Romney administration would most likely try to help the coal-mining companies by discontinuing the characterization of carbon dioxide as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act, which gave the E.P.A. powerful new authority to control greenhouse gases. ...NYT
Fortunately, that would be a tough one to try and push through the Senate. But Romney might well encourage coal exports -- avoiding the local restrictions and increasing pollution in our neighbors' air.