Green Groups Big Winners With Senate Nuclear Option

Republicans, the American people and the economy are the big losers with the Senate’s nuclear option, but green groups are celebrating. Most lawsuits against the administration’s destructive rules and regulations go through the DC Court of Appeals, and Obama wants to stack that court with judges who will rubber stamp his agenda.

Green groups might be the biggest winners from Senate Democrats’ decision to gut the minority party’s filibuster rights on nominations.

Their top priority — President Obama’s second-term regulations on climate change — is likely to have a better shot at surviving legal challenges once Obama’s nominees are confirmed for the crucial U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

Melinda Pierce, a policy expert for the Sierra Club, said the addition of Obama’s three nominees would be an “improvement” to the D.C. Circuit, which is second only to the Supreme Court in influence and power. (Read More)

Also going through the DC appeals court are lawsuits against the government charging fees to nuclear plants for Yucca Mountain waste storage even though the administration has all but shut down any hope of building the facility.

This week’s ruling skewered that argument. The range of potential costs for a hypothetical site that Mr. Moniz presented “is so large as to be absolutely useless,” wrote Judge Laurence Silberman, who added that this seems to be Energy’s intent. “This presentation reminds us of the lawyer’s song in the musical ‘Chicago’—’Give them the old razzle dazzle.’”

Judge Silberman noted that the Obama Administration had itself to blame for having only hypotheticals. “It certainly could have used Yucca Mountain’s costs if it were still pursuing that site,” he wrote, adding that “the Secretary may not comply with his statutory obligation by ‘concluding’ that a conclusion is impossible.” The court also suspended the fees, which is good news for the industry, if not for the future of a permanent storage facility.

The larger context of this legal rebuke is how this nuclear co-dependency of Messrs. Reid and Obama has contributed to Washington’s dysfunction. Many people have wondered why Mr. Reid is so determined to do White House bidding even when it might hurt the political prospects of Senate Democrats. The answer is Yucca Mt.

Blocking Yucca is Harry’s top priority and his political survival depends on it. This means he needs Mr. Obama to help him control the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and back him on spending for Yucca. But that in turn gives Mr. Obama enormous political leverage on Mr. Reid to carry the President’s water. (Read More)