Rabe on the current political climate for environmental policy

October 5, 2021

In a flurry of articles in E&E News, Barry Rabe commented on the state of environmental policy as Congress weighs climate measures in the reconciliation bill, the Environmental Protection Agency writes power plant regulations, and midwestern states consider incentives for electric vehicle adoption.

“I guess there’s got to be a strategic tension in the administration,” he told E&E News, regarding EPA rules. “On the one hand, they want to move as quickly as possible on every front to maximize the likelihood certainly if it’s through administrative actions that they get things done. (On the other hand) I would assume that EPA would be reluctant to act prematurely because you’d want any administrative action to be complementary to whatever emerged from Congress.”

Commenting on differences from the 2009-19 Waxman-Markey bill, Rabe told E&E News that the scale of this new bill that combines environmental policy with health policy is unprecedented and may insulate climate policy from attacks.

“We don’t have a history in the U.S. of putting environmental policy adoption into a package with lots of other social programs that are spending lots of money but also engaging in regulation,” Rabe said. “For the U.S., I would argue, this becomes a really unique political test about whether there is an advantage to be gained by formally linking environment and energy with all kinds of other policy areas.”

At the state level, the Midwest is moving forward with an electrical vehicle network, which will propel electric vehicle adoption. 

“When multiple states agree to create some kind of a partnership it’s worth taking note,” Rabe said. “That doesn't happen all that often, especially in the Midwest.”

Read all the news items featuring Rabe below: