By Leo Wolfson, Cowboy State Daily
Wyoming’s U.S senators and representative have come out strongly against President Joe Biden declaring a climate emergency.
In a speech Wednesday, Biden said he would “act with urgency and resolve when our nation faces clear and present danger. And that’s what climate change is about. It is literally, not figuratively, a clear and present danger.”
Although Biden has not pulled any triggers on this order yet, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre reported on Tuesday this option is currently “on the table.”
“President Biden is out of touch with the American people. Families need energy that is affordable and reliable,” said U.S. Sen. John Barrasso. “Instead of taking action to ease the pain at the pump, the president doubled down today on his extreme climate agenda.”
In the speech, Biden announced, through an executive order, $2.3 billion for FEMA to help protect communities from extreme heat and other disasters, $385 million to pay for air conditioners in homes and community spaces and wind projects.
“This will only push energy prices higher,” Barrasso said. “American families are being crushed by President Biden’s historic inflation and high energy prices.”
A potential emergency or executive order would allow Biden to achieve his unfulfilled environmental campaign promises that included taking sweeping actions on restraining greenhouse gas production, banning U.S. crude oil exports, ending offshore drilling and speeding up the manufacturing of electric vehicles.
Nearly all of Biden’s climate efforts have been thwarted since taking office by the courts and Congress.
Although taking executive action might deliver results he desires, it could come with an explosive response from the Supreme Court, American public and gas prices, which may cause harm to his presidency and future ambitions of the Democratic Party.
Still, many of his supporters and members of his party are encouraging him to pursue his agenda.
“This is the time when people want their expectations raised and they want something delivered,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon, in a Wednesday Politico story.
A group of Democratic senators recently wrote a letter to furthering this sentiment.
Climate and environmental activists say the stakes have never been higher when it comes to cutting carbon emissions to fight climate change.
Record heat waves are currently ravaging Europe, historic wildfires have decimated the West over the last decade and average worldwide temperatures have risen by more than two degrees since 1880.
Many scientists have connected this change to carbon output, while a smaller group of detractors have denied it happening at all or said there are different reasons for it occurring, like the growth of cities and natural pressures.
Some have questioned Biden’s Constitutional authority to declare a climate emergency.
“If Congress declines to pass some sweeping initiative, it should be cause for members of Congress on the losing side to keep up their advocacy and seek to persuade more members to agree with them or elect different members of Congress,” said Rich Lowry, editor in chief of the National Review, in a Thursday Politico opinion piece. “It shouldn’t become warrant to short-circuit the process and get the president to issue edicts in lieu of legislation.”
An emergency declaration from the president would not be an unprecedented move.
Former President Donald Trump invoked this authority when steering money to his border wall.
The National Emergencies Act of 1976 gives a president the right to to regulate international trade in the event of an “unusual and extraordinary threat.”
Former President George W. Bush utilized this in response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Presidential executive actions are often undone by the following administrations.
This occurred in 2020 when Biden removed many Trump-era orders. Biden’s energy policies have caused grave concerns among Wyoming lawmakers and energy producers.
“Joe Biden’s energy policies have been disastrous. Instead of allowing America to be an energy arsenal for the world, he has stifled domestic production and forced us to rely on our adversaries and other foreign sources for energy,” U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney said.
Any offshore or export cuts that Biden could make on oil and gas drilling would likely cause an increase in prices and further decrease in supply.
“President Biden should be more focused on inflation and reducing gas prices, as opposed to actions that will continue to drive the price of gas up,” U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis said. “We should hold China responsible for its role in global emissions and prioritize our own innovation to continue to solve climate issues.”