Environmental policies may be Obama's second-term 'legacy'
WASHINGTON — President Obama's environmental policies are likely to play a prominent role in defining his second term.
When Gina McCarthy first met with Obama in the Oval Office on Jan. 10 to discuss the prospect of heading the Environmental Protection Agency, she recalled, “the first words out of his mouth was the need ... to focus on climate.”
“He sees this as a necessary part of his legacy,” she said.
Obama's deputies are laying the groundwork to manage public lands across broad regions. They are preparing to weigh in on a controversial mining proposal in Alaska.
In the administration's first term, it framed climate initiatives as ways to promote energy independence or cut consumer costs. Agency heads have been given very different guideposts for the second term.
In his chief of staff, Denis McDonough, Obama has a policy manager who has written and contributed to several pieces on climate change as a senior fellow at the liberal Center for American Progress think tank in 2006 and 2007.
The shift has alarmed some industry officials as well as coal allies. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., described the administration as coal's “adversary” and brought a state delegation headed by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, a Democrat, to the White House on Aug. 1 to meet with McCarthy and White House legislative affairs director Miguel Rodriguez.
While Manchin called the nearly hourlong session “very respectful and productive,” he also said it exposed the “deep differences” between politicians like himself and Obama.
“You cannot describe this any differently than as a war on coal, and not just in West Virginia or the U.S., but on a global scale,” he said. “They're using every tool they have to destroy the most abundant, reliable and affordable resource that we have.”
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., who co-founded the Safe Climate Caucus and has pressed the White House for years to address the issue more aggressively, said he has sensed “a sea change” since Obama presented his climate plan in June.
“It does not appear to be, ‘Just make a speech and walk away,' ” Whitehouse said. “It appears to be a lasting and real policy shift.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Clinton: Women ‘expect’ extremism from terrorists, not GOP candidates
- People who knew Virginia TV station shooter Flanagan recall his quick temper
- Ex-crime lab chief: Illegal’s fatal shot in San Francisco likely accidental
- Compatibility of 1st-responder radios in doubt
- Planned Parenthood alleges ‘smear’ campaign in letter to top lawmakers
- Bison gores worker on California’s Catalina Island
- 13 states spared EPA regulation of waterways
- Obama marks Hurricane Katrina anniversary in New Orleans visit
- US economy surged at 3.7 percent rate in April-June quarter
- Virginia reporter, cameraman killed on air; gunman also dies
- Dow, S&P, Nasdaq soar 4% despite China worries, but volatility expected to endure