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William O'Keefe
CEO, George C. Marshall Institute

William O'Keefe

William O'Keefe is CEO at the George C. Marshall Institute, a think tank that promotes better use of science in public policy. He is a former COO at the American Petroleum Institute.


Energy policy is beyond EPA's mission

Q: Should EPA keep pressing ahead with new greenhouse gas rules, or should it accept Congress will shape the future of any mandatory limits on carbon dioxide?

Climate policy is energy policy and that is beyond EPA's mission and competence.

Government agencies have a hard enough time with their assigned missions without attempting to perform ones that are beyond their expertise and competence.

EPA knows, as does Congress, that the Clean Air Act was never intended to cover regulation of CO2. The Act's legislative history and the 1990 reauthorization makes that abundantly clear. The Supreme Court made a bad decision in imputing authority that explicitly was never granted. Furthermore, it did not say that EPA must regulate; only that it had the authority to do so.

The first thing that Congress should now do is to make its intent clear by legislative action, either by passing Senator Rockefeller's proposal or using the appropriations process to deny EPA funds to regulate CO2. Then, it should abandon the flawed efforts built on cap and trade. No serious and objective analysis shows cap and trade is an effective mechanism. It is one that will harm the economy, harm consumers and make traders and those who can game the system rich.

The climate change risk is a long-term challenge that will be best addressed by technology--faster deployment of current technology and incentives to speed the development of new technology. Congress should focus on actions that bring about those two objectives cost-effectively in concert with actions to promote strong economic growth.

The best and most honest action that Congress can take is a simple, straightforward carbon tax with the proceeds returned to taxpayers through the reduction in a more distorting tax like the payroll tax.

By William O'Keefe  |  June 16, 2010; 11:08 AM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: It's about carbon, not Congress | Next: EPA should proceed with market-based regulations


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Create a carbon(greenhouse gas) tax -offset by other tax reductions- while investing in new energy technologies.

When I started to read this article, I did not expect to agree with the author and former COO of API. Props.

Posted by: SaltyTroubadour | June 19, 2010 1:56 PM
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Obama Plans To Sneak Through Carbon Tax By Stealth
President Obama is planning to sneak through his job-killing, economy wrecking carbon tax by stealth according to the Washington Post, by passing a weakened bill and then adding in cap and trade provisions after the heat is off following the November elections.
Described as the “lame duck climate strategy,” Obama is planning to secure enough votes in the Senate to pass a weakened energy bill and then drag out the conference long enough to ensure the stronger provisions contained in the original House version are added “after lawmakers have faced voters in November, thereby cushioning the vote’s political impact.”
“Several sources familiar with the administration’s thinking confirmed it has started pressing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to bring up a slimmed-down energy and climate bill next month. Such a measure would pass more easily than a comprehensive climate bill, and could still be negotiated with the broader bill the House passed a year ago,” reports the Washington Post.
“The Senate is expected to try and push a watered down bill with the hope of moving towards a carbon tax later on,” we reported on June 10, which is exactly the approach now being adopted by Obama. The elite are still desperate to impose a consumption tax on Americans as part of the move towards a “post-industrial revolution” and the kind of nightmare “green economy” that has left Spain with a 20 per cent unemployment rate. In a so-called green economy, over 2.2 jobs are lost for every “green job” created.
The government has aggressively exploited the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to manufacture an artificial urgency in an effort to speed the passage of cap and trade, an agenda firmly supported by the transnational oil corporations Obama is claiming to be reigning in. British Petroleum is one of the founding members of the cap and trade lobby, and has consistently “lobbied for tax hikes, greenhouse gas restraints, the stimulus bill, the Wall Street bailout, and subsidies for oil pipelines, solar panels, natural gas and biofuels.”
Yesterday, White House spokesman Ben LaBolt invoked the oil spill disaster to justify passage of the carbon tax bill. Obama , even went to the extreme of comparing the oil spill to 9/11, proving that he is perfectly willing to exploit the horror of nearly 3,000 dead Americans in a completely unrelated event nine years ago to underhandedly push his political agenda. and

Posted by: PaulRevere4 | June 18, 2010 3:07 PM
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EPA's regulation of carbon pollution may be an expensive way to reduce emissions, but what is the problem with Supreme Court decision?

If it costs a little more now to save our children and grandchildren trillions of dollars in environmental catastrophe generations from be it. With the carbon trading market, I am not so concerned that people will be making money. Isn't that the point? We should penalize those who are free-riders on our environment and our economy, while rewarding those who are able to alleviate pollution most efficiently. Without such a regime, we essentially allow people now to steal from the economy, health, and well-being of later generations.

Oh, and if you want a serious and objective analysis on cap-and-trade, see:

Thanks for your thoughts and for the discussion.

Posted by: AlexNgo | June 17, 2010 1:21 PM
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I could not agree more than a revenue-neutral carbon tax is the best means by which to stem the tide of global climate change!

Posted by: SallyVCrockett | June 16, 2010 9:45 PM
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CO2 is not a pollutant!

It exist in the atmosphere approximately 380 ppm, but toxicity for humans doesn't even begin or start until levels of 20,000 ppm!

So, they're only argument is leads to Climate Change, which is unproven and Greenhouse Gases comprise more then just CO2!

Posted by: theaz | June 16, 2010 8:43 PM
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"Climate policy is energy policy and that is beyond EPA's mission and competence.
EPA knows, as does Congress, that the Clean Air Act was never intended to cover regulation of CO2. The Act's legislative history and the 1990 reauthorization makes that abundantly clear. The Supreme Court made a bad decision in imputing authority that explicitly was never granted."
Amen and Amen! Truth is truth!

Posted by: USDefender | June 16, 2010 5:43 PM
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