Now that Obama is going to be the next president and the US Congress will be dominated by the blue party, there were a lot of optimism in the green sphere as well as slight pessimism (sometimes diplomatically called cautiously optimism) in the chemical and manufacturing sectors.
According to ICIS news, there are high expectations from major environmental groups that the Obama administration will be in favor of tightening chemicals regulations as well as more legislation on climate and pollution control.
Their wish list for the new Congress includes among others a passage for a cap-and-trade bill; a chemicals control bill that is likened (or better) to the European Union's chemical regulation Reach (registration, evaluation and authorization of chemicals); and renewal of the special tax on chemical producers to fund clean-up projects at polluted sites around the country.
Meanwhile, ICIS news also noted that the new administration will be a challenge to businesses such as chemicals, petroleum, electricity, coal, steel, and other manufacturing sectors that are energy-intensive.
Some of these industries, however, believe that the Obama administration will focus first on reviving the economy, and therefore will be more cautious on implementing any legislation (such as the cap-and-trade emissions bill) that will discourage business investments or trigger energy squeeze that in the end will affect not only the manufacturing sectors but consumers as well.
The American Chemistry Council even believe that the new Congress will be understanding of the US businesses' need to be internationally competitive and will not be trigger-happy to pass on climate change bill that will endanger the welfare of the chemical industry.
"A lot of members of Congress are aware of the need for a very judicious approach on how re respond to greenhouse gas emissions, and I hope they will give consideration to the chemicals industry and the fact that we use a lot of natgas and petroleum as feedstock in products that we make and that contribute to energy efficiency," the ACC president said in an interview with ICIS news.While the Obama administration will do its delicate balancing act of choosing between the need for a climate change bill and the welfare of energy-intensive businesses, the alternative energy market, on the other hand, is already a sure winner if Obama will back up his platform of investing hundreds of billions of dollars within 10 years in the development of this industry.
The problem is if the new Congress, green as they may be, will back him up on that especially if the time frame for the development of more economical clean technology will not be realistic. There is of course the federal budget already deep in debt as well.
Even voters from States such as California and Colorado opted to opposed several environmental ballot measures on November 4 as they know mandates on implementing renewable energy and alternative fuel in the states mentioned will ultimately placed heavy burdens on consumer's energy costs and taxes. You can read more about these measures in Wall Street Journal's environmental blog.