06.28.2013 2

Obama throws down green gauntlet

By Rick Manning

The President’s Climate Action Plan was released in an obvious attempt to change the subject away from the various scandals that have engulfed Obama to something where he hoped to get favorable press.

The plan itself outlines Obama’s determination to push the limits of his Executive branch power through bypassing Congress and instituting policies through a series of regulations and Executive Orders.

With the Environmental Protection Agency expected to be the point of the spear in this war on American energy production, the nomination of Gina McCarthy to head that agency becomes an important test of the Senate’s support for the now declared war.

McCarthy is an EPA veteran who has come under fire for incompetence in her running of the radiation detection system, when it was discovered during the Japanese nuclear power plant meltdown that the U.S. system was largely inoperative.

She also has approved plans to actively encourage the use of a new refrigerant in vehicles that the Daimler Corporation found to be so dangerous that they voluntarily spent millions of dollars recalling vehicles in Europe that contained it.  Now, McCarthy is trying to get this coolant into every American new car under the guise of climate change.

On the coal front, McCarthy has been at the forefront of efforts to impose regulations that are designed to drive electric utility providers away from burning coal toward other fuels, particularly natural gas.

The decision by Obama to release his “Climate Action Plan” prior to an anticipated vote on the McCarthy nomination in early July, turns the already contentious confirmation into a referendum on Obama’s plan to by-pass Congress and impose draconian measures through executive fiat.

This puts two senators squarely on the hot seat.

West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, who won election largely due to a brilliant ad where he shoots a copy of the cap and trade environmental legislation, now with the McCarthy vote, will be voting on whether he wants to approve the implementation of much of that regime.  But for Manchin, it is not enough to just oppose McCarthy, he needs to convince other energy state Democrats like Heidi Heitkamp from North Dakota to join him.  If he fails, his case that he can make a difference in the War against Coal will be lost.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is the other member with the most at stake in the McCarthy battle.

If McConnell fails to hold his Conference together in opposition to McCarthy and allows Obama to claim bi-partisan support for his Kill Coal campaign, it becomes very difficult for him to claim an us-against-them argument as he seeks re-election in Kentucky’s coal country.

McConnell needs to explain in no uncertain terms to his colleagues Kelly Ayotte, Lisa Murkowski, Mark Kirk, Lamar Alexander, Bob Corker, Lindsay Graham and Susan Collins that if they choose to support McCarthy’s nomination, they are putting a knife through the heart of Senate Republican hopes to gain a majority in 2014.  Failure in this D.C. battle has real consequences in Kentucky, and if McConnell doesn’t hold his Republican colleagues together, one can bet that coal miners across the state will know about it before the week is out.

While nomination battles in D.C. are often strictly “inside the Beltway” affairs, the Gina McCarthy nomination is so much more.  If confirmed, Obama will claim a three year mandate to move his job killing environmental agenda.

And that would be disastrous for our nation’s economic future.

Rick Manning (@rmanning957) is the vice president of public policy and communications for Americans for Limited Government.

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