Articles Posted in Legislation

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The President released the proposed Federal budget  this week, which carries recommendations that funding for numerous programs relating to combating climate change be unfunded. As reported by Bloomberg News, in addition to cuts in a number of other program, the following climate change and energy efficiency related programs will be unfunded under the newly proposed budget:

“Global Climate Change Initiative

◦ Provides financial assistance for global climate change initiatives in developing countries.

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The Governor of California is  expected to sign a Bill adopted by the California Legislature that further expands what has been called the Country’s most aggressive climate change legislation aimed at reducing Greenhouse Gases (GHGs). The new Act calls for a significant reduction in GHGs by 2030. The Act is also tied to another Bill just passed by the Legislature, Assembly Bill 197 of 2015-2016, that modifies the authority of the State Air Resources Board.

The legislation is administered by a State Air Resources Board. The companion Bill 197 would implement a legislative oversight committee to ensure the Air Resources Board acts in a manner that, among other things, ensures that plans ” …identify for each emissions reduction measure, including each alternative compliance mechanism, market-based compliance mechanism, and potential monetary and nonmonetary incentive the following information:

(a) The range of projected greenhouse gas emissions reductions that result from the measure.

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On December 3, 2015, a bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives proposing to relate the ability of the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide emissions, from fossil fuel-fired electric generating plants, to certification of specific actions by other countries to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. H.R. 4169 links new regulations of CO2 emissions from those power plants to implementation of regulations by other countries that would reduce worldwide CO2 emissions (not including US. emissions) by eighty (80%) percent.

Not only does the bill prevent the EPA from trying to unilaterally take action to reduce CO2 emissions, the bill appears to effectively preempt U.S. participation in any international agreement on reduction of CO2, unless it meets the standards set by Congress.  One question is whether the bill would violate Article II, section 2 of the United States Constitution which provides the President “…shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur…”.  If the President reaches an international agreement on CO2 emissions that has a different standard for reduction, does Congress have the authority to block implementation of such an agreement through an Act such as H.R. 4169?

The full text of the bill reads as follows: