Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Under the radar: WH taps Bob Perciasepe as EPA Deputy; Senate Republicans fume over Waxman bill

Amid all the hoopla over the new vehicle standards, the White House officially nominated ex-EPA and ex-state official Bob Perciasepe to become Deputy EPA Administrator.

This is a great choice! For clean-air advocates, this should be a cause for celebration.

Some of you may recall Bob from his days in the Clinton era. At different times, he ran both the water pollution and later the air pollution divisions. Before that, he was the head of the Maryland state environmental program.

He is as qualified as anyone in the nation for this job. (For the top job at EPA as well, for that matter.) He is a real problem solver. You may remember some of his great accomplishments included tougher standards for cars, SUVs, gasoline sulfur, diesel sulfur and diesel trucks and buses. We have cleaner air today thanks to things Perciasepe did a decade ago.

Let’s hope the Senate spoil sports, including Barrasso and Inhofe, don’t try to hang him up as they have the Gina McCarthy nomination as head of the EPA air program. Clean Air Watch is still gathering signatures for a petition urging the Senate to confirm her. And some of the personalized comments are indeed touching.

And speaking of those Senate Republicans… Politico has a fascinating piece this morning on a cynical Senate Republican “strategy memo” which seeks to attack the Democrats as the party of “big business.”

This is a pretty cynical and transparent way to lay the groundwork for future attacks on the Waxman-Markey climate bill. They focus their attack on the corporate members of the US Climate Action Partnership, which put together a compromise (which we have been critical of) which formed some of the basis of the still-evolving legislation.

These Senate Republicans are obviously pretty desperate. And talk about being the wrong messenger! The Republican Party has generally been viewed as the ally of “big business” at least since the William McKinley era.

Not only that, as we pointed out some weeks back, , the USCAP companies gave quite a lot of campaign cash to Inhofe as well as to other diehard opponents of climate legislation.

Perhaps for their next act, they will denounce EEI President Tom Kuhn for using Democrat Rick Boucher as their puppet to weaken the Waxman-Markey bill.

Kuhn, close college buddy of former President Bush, understands that it’s cold cash – not party loyalty -- that really pulls the strings.

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