More Partsanization Of The Environment

More Partsanization Of The Environment

 The Environmental Protection Agency was founded during the presidency of Republican Richard Nixon, if perhaps with some lack of enthusiasm. The first national cap and trade (or “tradable emissions permits”) system, for SO2, was instituted during the presidency of Republican George H.W. Bush. In 2008, Republican John McCain had an alternative plan to that proposed by Democrat Barack Obama for dealing with global warming, not all that different, mostly perhaps in scale.  Likewise even in 2012, while he was less specific, Republican Mitt Romney still at least gave lip service to doing something about this matter.

While he is not outright denying that global warming is happening as the more extreme members of his party argue, incoming Republican Governor of Virginia, Glenn Youngkin, supposedly a moderate Republican, has nevertheless announced his intention to remove Virginia from its participation in the not widely publicized Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) of which Virginia has been the southernmost participating states, the others including most of those to its northeast. This is indeed a cap and trade system for greenhouse gases. This RGGI is probably more open to criticism by those who argue that it has been too weak, too ineffective in substantially reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the states participating in it. But at least it is pushing in the right direction and provides an institutional foundation for doing more.

So it really sticks out that incoming Governor Youngkin wants out of it. Why?  Oooh, he will save Virginia taxpayers money, actually people who pay for electricity.  The estimate he provided yesterday (as reported in today’s Washington Post metro section) is about $52.44 per average customer per year in utility bills, with him complaining that the RGGI is not really doing anything.  He promises an alternative, but gives no hint of what that might be. As it is, this strictly short term possible monetary gain is likely to be offset, possibly more than fully offset, by other monetary costs that will probably increase, such as higher flood insurance for people living in the state, quite aside from the broader issue of global warming.

Anyway, this seems to be a further degradation of the Republican Party.  Here we have a supposedly moderate Republican, who clearly feels he must indulge the irresponsibility of the Trumpist/extremist wing of his party, in going against the long-running more responsible past of members of his party with respect to environmental policy.  It may be that Youngkin will not be able to do this by executive order, or may be delayed in doing so. But that he wants to and will probably try to is simply sad in my view.

Barkley Rosser