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Obama could use EPA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions

The Globe and Mail reports today that, “The U.S. climate-change debate is about to heat up as the Senate begins debating legislation that would create a national cap-and-trade system… (and) the (Obama) administration has served notice to opponents of the climate-change bill that, without legislation, the Environmental Protection Agency will regulate emissions.”

“The Harper government is following the U.S. lead on climate policy, arguing the two economies are too intertwined for disparate approaches. But, at the same time, Ottawa is attempting to head off any U.S. measures that would stifle growth in the Canadian oil sands.”

“(Obama’s energy and environment adviser John) Podesta told his Canadian audience (in Ottawa yesterday) that the new administration is ambivalent about demands from environmental groups and some Democrats to use climate regulations to block expansion of the oil sands.”

“While the White House is keen to reduce U.S. reliance on ‘dirty’ oil, administration officials are also well aware that Alberta boasts the world’s second-largest reserve of crude, and represents a secure source of energy for American consumers.”

“The new U.S. ambassador, David Jacobson, toured the oil sands last week and said environmental issues must be balanced with energy security concerns.”

“A cap-and-trade system would dramatically drive up the cost of refining that Canadian crude.”

“The Canadian and Alberta governments also worry that Washington could adopt a low-carbon fuel standard, a regulation pioneered by California that would essentially prevent refiners from purchasing supply from the Alberta oil sands.”

“Terry Tamminen an environmental adviser to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger …expects the United States (will) adopt a national low-carbon fuel standard.”

Tamminen says, “And that would absolutely be bad news for the oil sands. …Right now, it is one of the highest carbon-content fuels available.”

“The current Senate bill does not include a (low carbon fuel standard) provision, but many observers believe Washington will eventually pass one – Mr. Podesta noted that Mr. Obama has long supported such a measure.”

The full article is at http://theglobeandmail.com/news/national/are-the-oil-sands-in-crosshairs-of-obama-plan/article1333363/?.