New Document Shows Romney Backed Cap-And-Trade Back In 2003

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Here's Mittens, back in 2007.

From Grist, further evidence that Mitt "Etch-A-Sketch" Romney is/was the the moderate, Northeastern Republican that haunts the dreams of the party's extreme fringe — otherwise known as the Republican leadership. Now, while I'm always happy to catch a Republican with his ideological pants down, in this case, it may not work to the Democrats' advantage. Because the more moderate Mittens appears in the eyes of the true believers, the more pressure there will be to pair him with an extremist personality like Paul Ryan or Eric Cantor to excite their base and get them to turn out:

A new document has surfaced [PDF] showing Mitt Romney’s strong support for regulating carbon dioxide in 2003, when he called cap-and-trade “an effective approach” to combating global warming.

The comments were made in a letter from Romney to New York Gov. George Pataki (R) about a regional cooperative system for regulating greenhouse gases. In the letter, Romney agreed with Pataki on the need to “reduce the power plant pollution that is harming our climate.”But today, in trying to align himself with conservative political backlash against climate science, Romney says “we don’t know” whether humans are warming the planet, and that doing something about the problem “is not the right course for us.”

Here’s the full letter [PDF] from Romney to Pataki:

Thank you for your invitation to embark on a cooperative northeast process to reduce the power plant pollution that is harming our climate. I concur that climate change is beginning to effect on our natural resources and that now is the time to take action toward climate protection. Furthermore, I share your interest in ensuring that the economic and security contributions made by our electricity generating system are not negated by the impact of emissions from that system on the health of our citizens.

As you may know, the commonwealth is making major strides to reduce the environmental impact of our power plants. Specifically, I am making good on my pledge to clean up the six oldest and dirtiest power plants in the state and bring them up to new plant standards for NOx, SOx, mercury and CO2. We are the first state to enact a cap on CO2, implementing regulations that, by 2008, will reduce these emissions by 10%, removing 6,750 tons of Co2 per day. Furthermore, Massachusetts, along with the other New England states and Canadian provinces, has a target of reducing greenhouse gases and improving the efficiency of the grid substantially over the next 20 years.

I believe that our joint work to create a flexible market-based regional cap and trade system could serve as an effective approach to meeting these goals. I am ready to have my staff work with yours to explore how we might design such a system — one that would keep the cost of compliance as low as possible, diversify our fuels, encourage energy efficiency and renewables, and keep our energy dollars in the region. Thank you for your initiative in proposing this project.

Even though he's done everything but demand drilling on every block in America to make up for it, Republicans are still suspicious that Mittens is, deep down, a sensible sort. And in the modern Republican party, we can't have that!

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