Bill Daley Preparing to Ruin Another Democrat’s Election Chances

The environmental community is beginning to worry that the Obama Administration is preparing to cave on greenhouse gas emissions, just like it did on ozone emissions.

Hard on the heels of the Obama administration’s decision earlier this month to scrap a new rule for ozone emissions, U.S. EPA appears poised to miss another major regulatory deadline — this time for greenhouse gas emissions.

Environmentalists are reserving judgment about the fact the agency has yet to send its proposed rule for greenhouse gas emissions from utilities to the White House Office of Management and Budget for vetting, a necessary final step before the rule can be released in compliance with the court-ordered deadline of Sept. 30.

But conservationists warn that if the administration delays another important rule for apparently political reasons, it will face stiff opposition from its sometime-allies in the green community.

“It’s starting to look as if EPA might blow another deadline,” said Frank O’Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch. “That would be very disturbing.”

That’s particularly troubling given what we’ve learned about the ozone cave. We know the Business Roundtable wrote Bill Daley personally with their exaggerated claims about the ozone rules. And when environmental groups responded by emphasizing how popular clean air is, Daley ignored them–only to respond when those same business groups implied ozone regulations would be unpopular in swing states. (h/t David Roberts)

On Aug. 16, Mr. Daley met with environmental, public-health and other groups to discuss the Environmental Protection Agency rule that would tighten air-quality standards. At one point he lamented that the issue couldn’t be worked out by consensus with industry, as the White House did with the auto industry on fuel-economy rules.

When the American Lung Association mentioned a poll showing public support for EPA standards, Mr. Daley appeared uninterested, according to one person in the room. “He literally cut the person off and said ‘I don’t give a [expletive] about the poll’,” this person said. A senior White House official said Mr. Daley wanted to hear arguments about the substance of the regulation and its impact, not political arguments, and he was uninterested in all polls on this topic.

The same day, Mr. Daley met with industry groups, who gave the White House a map showing counties that would be out of compliance with the Clean Air Act if the stricter standards were put in place. The map showed that the rule would affect areas in the politically important 2012 election states of Florida, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Ohio.

And now the Business Roundtable speaks openly about maintaining that kind of influence over these decisions.

“We saw that as a positive — his level of interest, him sitting in on these meetings, him weighing in on this issue within the administration,” Johanna Schneider, executive director of external relations for the Business Roundtable, told The Hill. “I think it’s emblematic of his role in the administration as part of the outreach to the business community.”


“It moved the issue up to the top of the agenda for the president. That is what happens when you have a White House chief of staff getting involved,” Schneider said. “You have one of the two or three people in government who can control the agenda.”

American Petroleum Institute President Jack Gerard said he’s hopeful the ozone decision foreshadows increased White House involvement in rulemakings.

“We are hopeful that all decisions will be scrutinized as closely as the ozone decision, because a lot of regulatory overreach is what creates the uncertainty that keeps the investment money on the sidelines,” Gerard said in an interview.

Now maybe it’s true that insisting that businesses not poison our children would be political unpopular in key swing states–or maybe not.

The point is, these decisions are being made for political reasons. And the person making those decisions appears to be Bill Daley (helped by Cass Sunstein).

You know. Bill Daley? The guy who couldn’t get Al Gore elected at a time of historical prosperity (even if it was a bubble)? The guy who pushed decisions like separation from a popular president and caving on the FL recount that led directly to Gore being unsuccessful at pressing his victory?

Maybe the White House is right to make bad environmental decisions for pragmatic political reasons (though I doubt it). But Bill Daley is probably not the guy you want making that call, because he has a pretty remarkable history of poor political judgment.

12 replies
  1. Jim White says:

    “because a lot of regulatory overreach is what creates the uncertainty that keeps the investment money on the sidelines”

    Yeah, we’re all just sitting back waiting for all the “investment” that will flow from the ozone decision. Hint: the flow is entirely in the direction of K street; Main Street will get bupkis.

  2. Phil Perspective says:

    But Bill Daley is probably not the guy you want making that call, because he has a pretty remarkable history of poor political judgment.

    And yet the President hired him anyway. What does that say? I think we all know.

  3. klynn says:


    Nice. Very nice!


    Groups in Ohio (environmental groups partnered with child health groups)are making a great deal of noise. The regulations are not unpopular with the citizens of Ohio. This will put Ohio back in the hot seat with Canada. Getting acid rain under control(as the state that is the largest producer) has been difficult. Undue anything that allows the lax of the controls which which have reduced acid rain and Canada will have Ohio in the World Court in an instant.

    Moving in this direction on emissions environmental concerns is just stupid and Canada has the right to consider such moves as acts of war due to the threat such to their forest, crops, water and parks.

    Additionally, Pres. O has not been following the very real science about acidification of the oceans as well. It is the number one threat to fisheries around the globe and we are the biggest guilty party in creating acidification. The leading ocean acidification research is being done here in Ohio of all places.

  4. allan says:

    The nerds have thrown in the towel. An editorial in today’s issue of Nature (subscr. req.):
    The Obama administration should reject the false dichotomy between environmental protection and the economy.

    Even at the best of times, building political support for action on thorny environmental issues is difficult in the United States. Recent events serve as a stark reminder of what happens when times are hard. Faced with the alarming possibility of a double-dip recession and an energized opposition that has demonized environmental regulations of any kind, President Barack Obama is picking his battles carefully and seeking to carve out a middle ground on what will surely be the fundamental issue of the 2012 presidential election: the economy. Sadly, if understandably, the environment has been placed on the back burner.

    The idea that tightening ozone standards would damage the economy is questionable at best. Numerous studies have shown that pollution control tends to pay for itself by reducing public-health bills; moreover, money spent on reducing emissions does not disappear into a vacuum: pollution control is a business, too. In backing off from the tighter regulations, Obama was looking to disarm his political opponents more than anything else, but in doing so he lent false legitimacy to the misguided debate that pits the economy against public health and environmental protection…

  5. der says:

    American Petroleum Institute President Jack Gerard said – “We are hopeful that all decisions will be scrutinized as closely as the ozone decision, because a lot of regulatory overreach is what creates the uncertainty that keeps the investment money on the sidelines.”

    The results of a Petroleum Industry’s carefully analyzed decision – The loss of life at the Macondo site on April 20, 2010, and the subsequent pollution of the Gulf of Mexico through the summer of 2010 were the result of poor risk management, last-minute changes to plans, failure to observe and respond to critical indicators, inadequate well control response, and insufficient emergency bridge response training by companies and individuals responsible for drilling at the Macondo well and for the operation of the Deepwater Horizon.

    Read more:

    “President Barack Obama is picking his battles carefully … the environment has been placed on the back burner.”

    I mean it’s not like he made any promises back in ’08 now did he and the Democratic Party?

    From the Democratic Party Platform, “Renewing America’s Promise” – “We will reach out to the leaders of the biggest carbon emitting nations and ask them to join a new Global Energy Forum that will lay the foundation for the next generation of climate
    Clean energy development must be a central focus in our relationships with major countries… We need a global response to climate change that includes binding and
    enforceable commitments to reducing emissions…”

    Also, too Obama and the Democrats said this to get elected: “They (The Republican leadership) promised reform but allowed the oil companies to write our energy agenda
    and the credit card companies to write the bankruptcy rules.

    These are not just policy failures. They are failures of a broken politics –a politics that rewards self-interest over the common interest and the short-term over the long-term, that puts our government at the service of the powerful. A politics that creates a state-of-the-art system for
    doling out favors and shuts out the voice of the American people.”

    Daly – ‘I don’t give a [expletive] about the poll’

    Good luck. America.

  6. orionATL says:

    there’s a pattern here:

    barack obama, rahm emanuel, bill daly, valerie jarrett, et al.,

    what have we here?

    why a gang of small-time chicago pols,

    persuing petty, short-term political goals as if the presidency were a mayoralty and the united states were chicago.

  7. MickSteers says:

    How about taking the GOP/corporate juggernaut at its word?

    Suspend all regulation. Remove the “uncertainty” predicated on hard targets from business on job creation.

    Fail to meet the target? Huge tax penalties resumption of needed regulation.

    Perhaps it’s time to play chicken with the GOP the way they have with the country over the default.

    It would be nice to be able to prove to the nation that the confidence fairy is a myth used to mask a naked cash and power grab.

  8. ReaderOfTeaLeaves says:

    Part of the problem here is the definition of “business.”. These are large, legacy organizations whose business models require capture and control of government. Because the actually can’t compete economically without externalizing environmental and social costs.

    Recall that Apple left the Chamber over it’s ongoing prostitution to Big Oil.

    As a bizarre datapoint, the small company that makes “Angry Birds” is valued at over $1 billion. (Go figure.). Granted, their biz model does not require pipelines, drills, etc.

    But I offer this observation to point out that just because Daley or the Chamber call something a ‘business’ in no way means they refer to an economically competitive entity. They deal with the weezy outfits that use government the way an emphysema patient uses an oxygen tank: life support.

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