Within the seventh yr of his presidency, Barack Obama is being pressured to defend himself against the unusual charge that he is not progressive — or no less than not progressive sufficient. Forget that in the past critics have called him a socialist. His advocacy of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a secret 12-nation commerce deal for which he’s making an attempt to secure quick-track approval from the United States Congress, has prompted progressives to claim he has offered out to the corporate establishment.
To make sure, on TPP, Obama has discovered assist from a brand new constituency for him — Republicans. “The president has done a wonderful job on this,” Senate Majority Chief Mitch McConnell mentioned — a uncommon endorsement provided by the Republican powerbroker. Meanwhile, Senator Elizabeth Warren, talking on behalf of progressives and workers unions, launched an assault on TPP so stinging Obama felt the need to lash back. Calling Warren “improper,” he claimed TPP is the “most progressive commerce bill in historical past.” Ironically, progressives continue to disagree. When the Senate not too long ago voted 62-14 to grant Obama fast-monitor negotiating authority for TPP, solely 14 Democrats voted with the forty eight Republicans. Opposition is predicted to be even stronger within the House of Representatives.
The commerce deal flap has garnered such notoriety that one other abandonment of progressivism by Obama has gone largely ignored. On May 7, a bunch of Democratic senators, together with Heidi Heitkamp, Richard Durbin, Maria Cantwell, Jeanne Shaheen, and Al Franken, held a press conference to assault the Obama Administration, to quote one trade publication, “over delays in setting annual targets for biofuels by means of the renewable gasoline commonplace program.” Durbin, the senior senator from Illinois, admonished the administration by saying “there is no excuse for what we’ve been going by means of for the last two and a half, three years.”
Durbin was referring to a proposal made by the Environmental Safety Company in November 2013 to decrease the requirements for the use of biofuels. In 2005, Congress handed the Vitality Policy Act establishing the Renewable Gasoline Commonplace (RFS), which required the blending of renewable fuels, like ethanol, with conventional fuels. The RFS was expanded in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which was signed into legislation by President George W. Bush. The law required oil firms to use growing quantities of renewable fuels, reaching 36 billion gallons in 2022.
From 2005 until 2013, the EPA enforced RFS requirements, much to the displeasure of Large Oil. As Reuters reported, “Refiners say the law…is an untenable burden as gasoline demands shrinks. Biofuel groups say the volumes required by the regulation should be met.” Then, in late 2013, caving into pressure from the Carlyle Group and Delta Airways, each of which own oil refineries, the Obama Administration proposed weaker RFS guidelines — the primary time necessities had been lowered since the unique regulation was passed in 2005. It was a win for Huge Oil, an accommodation even President Bush was not prepared to make.
The proposed weaker RFS requirements ought to have been finalized in 2014, but, for reasons that haven’t been revealed by the EPA, they weren’t. As the yr handed, progressives became more and more annoyed with the Obama Administration. “It definitely appears as if the administration has backtracked on renewable fuels,” Melanie Sloan, then government director of Residents for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, stated in October. “The query is why.”
In March 2015, in a surprise transfer, the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the American Gas and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), the trade teams that symbolize Big Oil, filed a lawsuit towards the EPA in the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia, claiming the agency was “disregarding statutory deadlines.” In a consent decree, the EPA agreed that it might suggest RFS requirements for 2014 and 2015 (perhaps even 2016) by June 1. Those requirements shall be finalized by November 30.
Because the announcement of those new necessities looms, progressives, especially members of the biofuel trade and the environmental motion, fear that what Massive Oil actually wants is to dispose of RFS altogether. The oil corporations are setting up that transfer by claiming there’s a restrict to the amount of biofuel a automobile can use, a so-known as “mix wall.” By using this excuse, oil companies — not the EPA — would calculate how much biofuel is appropriate to mix into home fuels. Clearly, the oil corporations would use a little bit as doable. Thus far, the EPA seems to willing to allow Large Oil, not an objective third occasion, to determine “blend wall” limits.
On May 1, API and AFPM despatched a letter to the EPA detailing their opposition to RFS necessities. “The U.S. has reached the…blend wall,” the letter stated, “and the gasoline provide is at present saturated with the maximum quantity of ethanol that can safely be blended with out posing risks to the car fleet, refueling infrastructure, and car warranties. [The] EPA should recognize in its upcoming rulemaking that [growing RFS requirements] could limit the availability of domestic transportation fuels and threatens to negatively affect our economy.” The letter concluded: “The RFS is basically flawed and imposes financial costs without setting benefits.”
Clearly, by claiming the nation has reached the blend wall and by arguing the RFS is “fundamentally flawed,” Big Oil is intensifying its attack on the very idea of a renewable fuels normal. liquid chlorine storage tank That is why the pending guidelines are essential. Not merely a coverage proposal, the rules will point out if the Obama Administration, supposedly essentially the most progressive in trendy historical past, will defend biofuels or if it’s going to placate Huge Oil and allow the RFS to die.