No matter how much Republicans complain and how many bills they introduce to try to neuter the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate carbon emissions, they won’t get too far as long as President Obama is in office.

This week, EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson spent time with reporters who pressed her on how President Obama would handle any of the EPA-focused bills coming out of the House and Senate if they made it to his desk. Jackson’s response was as clear as day. “What has been stated from the White House is that the president’s advisers would advise him to veto any legislation that passed that would take away the EPA’s greenhouse gas authority,” Jackson told reporters. “Nothing has changed.”

Nonetheless, there is determination from Republicans like Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton of Michigan and Democrats like Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia to continue to push anti-EPA bills. So what’s the point? To score points at home. The EPA is not playing well in many Congressional districts (see the 2010 midterm elections). But they should be safe for the time being as Obama appears to have the agency’s back. However, the lessons from the Congressional districts during midterms should not be lost as the presidential election begins. Obama says he’s got the EPA’s back, but if he doesn't change his tone about the agency, he may have to watch his own back.

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