Wednesday, June 8, 2011

End the EPA Power Grab Completely

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should not just delay but outright end its greenhouse gas rules and other regulations designed to achieve a backdoor implementation of cap-and-trade. The American people decisively rejected energy taxes and rationing in the 2010 election, yet the administration has remaining committed to disregarding Congress and the American people.
The day after the election President Obama said:
“Cap and trade was just one way of skinning the cat; it was not the only way. It was a means, not an end. And I’m going to be looking for other means to address this problem.”
Obama’s words were a green light for the EPA to pretend cap-and-trade emissions levels are law and regulate away. In fact, the abatement schedule from the failed Waxman-Markey bill was written into the president FY2012 budget request for the EPA.
Beyond the greenhouse gas regulations, the other elements of the regulatory train wreck only pretend to be about mercury and other traditional air pollutants. They are actually all about driving up the price of coal and oil and forcing Americans to use less energy. Consider the justification given by the Center for American Progress (CAP) for the mercury rule, listed under greenhouse gas reductions in its blueprint for the president to disregard Congress and move forward in defiance of the American people:
“Despite the rule being directed at toxics—and not greenhouse gas emissions—the new pollution-control requirements could lead to many old inefficient plants being shut down rather than attempt to achieve compliance.”
CAP is run by Obama transition team chairman John Podesta, and employed Carol Browner both before and after her stint as the White House climate czar, where she was the strategic lead on this issue.
As I show in my new book, under Article I, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution, the power to make these decisions resides in Congress, not the EPA. If the EPA refuses to recognize that fact and back off, the political consequences could be severe for members of Congress who refuse to do their job and stand up to the EPA, as well as for Obama himself.
It is likely the perception of that political downside that is driving EPA backing off on Boiler MACT and now greenhouse gas NSPS. But if the White House really wants to avoid the political consequences for themselves and their allies, they need to call off the power grab completely and send a clear public signal that none of these regulations will ever move forward without the express authorization of Congress.

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