Special Topics in Environmental Management

Democratic Platform: Environment and Energy Policies

Conspicuous by its absence in the 2016 Democratic platform (platform) is any mention of EPA’s Clean Water Rule (CWR). Currently being challenged in federal courts, the Agency and Army Corps of Engineers’ definition of waters of the United States (WOTUS) has thoroughly alienated the nation’s farmers, and apparently the Democratic National Committee does not view an endorsement of the plan as a solid strategy for winning battlefield agricultural states. On the other hand, the platform says that Democrats are “committed to defending, implementing, and extending” the Clean Power Plan (CPP), the other blockbuster regulation promulgated by the Obama EPA.

Inclusion of the CPP in the platform may also be risky in terms of enticing voters, who have been warned by Republicans that the plan to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) from coal-fired power plants will put electric reliability at risk and raise their rates. But its exclusion would undermine the platform’s dominant environmental theme—combating the scourge of climate change.

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