Odd couple asks EPA for carbon tax
That’s what environmental group Friends of the Earth and the free-market R Street Institute advocated for in a Wednesday meeting with EPA officials.
Neither organization would confirm the other’s attendance to the Washington Examiner. Eli Lehrer, who heads R Street Institute, said his group was meeting with the EPA but said he couldn’t vouch for Friends of the Earth. Kate DeAngelis, climate and energy campaigner with Friends of the Earth, said she could not “confirm or deny” the meeting was taking place.
It’s a bit of a touchy subject for a conservative group to go to an EPA meeting with one of the more left-leaning environmental groups and, ostensibly, present a united front. R Street Institute, after all, is trying to court Republican lawmakers in hopes of backing a national carbon tax. It’s not lost on GOP lawmakers that groups like Friends of the Earth are hardly their friends.
Friends of the Earth is to the Left of inside-the-Beltway players such as the Natural Resources Defense Council. R Street Institute is more centrist than other conservative outfits. It was founded in a split with the Heartland Institute over the latter’s skepticism of human-caused climate change.
Both groups said a carbon tax was a better method for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which most scientists blame for warming the planet, than the EPA’s proposal to limit emissions from power plants. Friends of the Earth is still a fan of the regulation, but says it’s too weak. R Street Institute hates the proposal, which calls for reducing electricity emissions 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030…
…Friends of the Earth and R Street Institute are a bit of an odd couple, but the two have collaborated in the past. They, with watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense, have taken aim for several years at wasteful government spending and programs through their “Green Scissors” coalition…
…Lehrer said the more inclusive a carbon tax, the better. He said he’s glad the EPA proposal to cut power plant emissions allows for carbon tax plans. Still, he said a national carbon tax would be better than the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, as the emissions rules are called.
Lehrer’s stand on carbon taxes is certainly controversial…
…But where Lehrer agrees with congressional Republicans — and departs from Friends of the Earth — is that the EPA proposal has to go.
“Basically we are meeting with EPA [Wednesday] to tell them their plan sucks,” Lehrer said. “Our view is ‘nothing’ is better than this plan.”