Stewart co-authors Wall Street Journal op-ed arguing for cap-and-trade environmental regulation

The House’s American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (known as the Waxman-Markey bill) is “largely top-down regulation dressed in cap-and-trade clothing,” argue Richard Stewart, University Professor, John Edward Sexton Professor of Law, and director of the Frank J. Guarini Center on Environmental and Land Use Law, and David Schoenbrod, a New York Law School professor, in an August 24 Wall Street Journal op-ed.

In “The Cap-and-Trade Bait and Switch,” Stewart and Schoenbrod point out that, far from being the cap-and-trade program Barack Obama called for during his 2008 presidential campaign, the Waxman-Markey bill includes free allowances for electric utilities, car manufacturers, and states that comply with certain regulations; the “outright regulation” of numerous forms of emission; and subsidies for certain government-mandated technologies. Waxman-Markey’s initial cap on greenhouse gas emissions is lax, they continue, only to be dramatically increased around 2025, resulting in a “balloon mortgage pledge of big cuts…unlikely to be kept.”

Stewart and Schoenbrod urge President Obama to come down firmly on the side of real cap-and-trade emissions regulation. “Otherwise, Congress will pass something like the House bill or, worse still, won't legislate at all,” they write, leading to an even greater degree of top-down regulation of greenhouse gases by the Environmental Protection Agency. “Congress should instead apply to climate change the market-based solution that it successfully applied to acid rain nearly 20 years ago.”

Posted on August 24, 2009