by Greg Walcher, E&E Legal Senior Policy Fellow
As Appearing in the Daily Sentinel
In high school and college I competed in debate tournaments across the state and country, and remember many occasions when a debate team’s plan would include abolishing some government program. Inevitably, the opponents would ask, “What will you replace it with?” Only once did I hear any debater respond with, “Nothing. Nothing at all. Government shouldn’t be doing that at all.” Everyone in the room was stunned, and that team lost.
Even today, most people find it hard to imagine abolishing anything. That’s why Reagan once quipped that a government program is the closest thing to eternal life on the planet. I couldn’t help reflecting on it a couple weeks ago, when the EPA released its new version of the “clean power plan,” the Obama Administration’s thinly-veiled attempt to kill the coal industry. More than half of the States sued, and the Supreme Court suspended it as an unauthorized expansion of the agency’s authority under the Clean Air Act.
That was two and a half years ago, and after the election the Trump Administration withdrew the Obama plan. The entire discussion has been in limbo since, but now we have a new EPA with a new plan, now called the “Affordable Clean Energy” rule, to debate.