Image courtesy of Barackobama.com
After Obama takes office next January, it may be a good long while before he's able to implement some of his broader environmental plans—there is a tanking economy, a couple wars, and an increasingly testy Russia to deal with, after all. But there are a few quick moves he may make—actions that he's already publicly advocated—that could swiftly begin to reverse the damaging environmental policies of the Bush administration. So yes, that plan to invest $150 billion in renewable energy technologies may have to wait. Here's what won't. 1. Reverse executive orders for drilling in Utah
AFP reports that Obama is reviewing Bush's orders to drill for oil and gas in Utah. John Podesta, the co-chairman of Obama's transition team, said of the order under review, "They want to have oil and gas drilling in some of the most sensitive, fragile lands in Utah that they're going to try to do right as they -- walking out the door. I think that's a mistake."
2. Allow California to regulate automobile emissions
The EPA and Bush administration made a decision last December to deny California the authority to impose CO2 regulations on cars. Obama has stated that he plans on quickly reversing that decision. This would be a relatively easy way for Obama to send the message that he's serious about dealing with climate change, while allowing California to do the dirty work of implementing a regulatory system. In January, Obama said "Effectively tackling global warming demands bold and innovative solutions, and given the failure of this administration to act, California should be allowed to pioneer."
3. Enable the EPA to declare that CO2 emissions are endangering human welfare
The EPA recommended Bush make this declaration last year, but his administration ignored the request. Obama has said that he's in favor of making the declaration, which would open the gateway to initiating policy on climate change. Bush rejected the declaration to protect the utility and auto companies—ignoring the problem for economic gain is hazardous, and potentially stifling. The declaration would ideally inspire innovation, and put an economic emphasis on developing renewable energy—so when the government does have that $150 billion handy, the industries will be ready.
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