Saturday, June 13, 2009

A Parting Controversy for Ambassador Huntsman

Today’s WSJ online includes this post by John Fund about a kerfuffle surrounding how (soon to be former) Utah Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr. has garnered and used funds in his capacity as chairman of the Western Governors Association.
“Jon Huntsman, the Republican governor of Utah, has had one foot out the door since being named Ambassador to China by President Obama. But he will still be chair of the Western Governors Association when it holds its annual meeting in Salt Lake City this weekend.

“Moreover, it looks like his final days in office will be marred by a controversy over just whose tax dollars are being spent on a highly controversial "Western Climate Initiative." Paul Chesser, a global warming skeptic who is a researcher with Climate Strategies Watch, submitted Freedom of Information Act requests and discovered that the initiative -- aimed at supporting dramatic reductions in carbon emissions -- has contracted or partnered with a wide range of liberal climate change groups. A full-time WGA staff member has been detailed to manage the climate project. The subsidies to pay for all this will likely be a topic of discussion at the governors' meeting because a majority of state governors didn't sign on to it. Many of them view draconian reductions in carbon emissions as a serious threat to their states' economies.

“One governor I spoke with points out that the WGA is supposed to operate on a consensus basis. He says the WGA's involvement in planning climate change proposals is serious overreach. "The dues states give WGA come from tax money and I was surprised to learn just how much the WGA seems to be getting ahead of many of the states on carbon regulation," he told me.

“Governor Huntsman is likely to be long gone when real answers about the WGA's runaway climate program are unearthed. He'll be in China, working at the uphill task of convincing the Chinese to undertake carbon reductions promoted by the Obama Administration. This week, talks between the U.S. and China on such curbs ended with little progress -- Beijing's negotiators making clear they aren't willing to sacrifice economic growth for benefits that are unquantifiable and perhaps illusory.”
Another example of your tax dollars at work. It’s fine to promote your agenda. But when you do it in the name of other people and with other people’s money, you’d better make sure that those ‘other people’ are on board.

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