Tuesday, 28 December 2010

EPA Pushes Further Regulations

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If Washington, .D.C. was supposed to “get the message” after the November elections, it would appear that the memo never made it to the desk of EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.

The Environmental Protection Agency has announced that it will be pressing forward with its ersatz “cap and trade” scheme. While the elected representatives of the American people were unwilling to risk further damage to both the U.S. economy and their own political futures to treat carbon dioxide as a pollutant, the unelected — and seemingly-unaccountable — environmental bureaucrats are pushing ahead with the agenda.

Even as the East Coast was only days away from snowstorms which would paralyze travel throughout the region, the EPA announced a timetable for restricting carbon dioxide emissions which will raise energy costs and further hamper the power industry’s ability to keep up with demand (which could also mean an increase in household energy costs).

According to a December 23 article in the New York Times, the EPA’s plans are short on publicly released details at the moment, but the agenda is pressing forward:

The agency said it would propose performance standards for new and refurbished power plants next July, with final rules to be issued in May 2012. Proposed emissions standards for new oil refineries will be published next December, it said, with the final rules due in November 2012; rules for existing plants would come later.

But the E.P.A. was vague on how stringent the rules would be and how deep a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions would result.

Gina McCarthy, the assistant administrator for air and radiation, said the rules would be “cost-effective” but the agency declined to be more specific, saying only that the agency would consider the costs and benefits of available control technologies.

That left open the question of how much money the agency would demand that an industry spend to avoid emitting carbon dioxide.

The EPA may have become evasive about releasing the details because several members of the Senate are already demanding the release of a study evaluating the cost of agency regulations. According to the Congressional Quarterly,

Mark Begich, D-Alaska, Mark Pryor, D-Ark., Olympia J. Snowe, R-Maine, and David Vitter, R-La., sent a letter to the Commerce Department and EPA asking for release of all studies conducted on the environmental proposal.

The senators claim that EPA officials have refused to release a Commerce Department analysis that, they say, shows the boiler rule would cause significant economic harm. EPA is under a court order to complete work on the regulation by Jan. 14; the proposed controls were released in April.

Environmental regulators have acknowledged that the proposal issued in April, which would require boiler owners to install tough new pollution control equipment, was excessively strict. But they have continued to keep the Commerce Department report under wraps.

Ultimately, all such costs will be passed on to the American people. The increased costs will come in the form of higher energy bills and higher costs for goods and services.

But there is another “cost” to the unilateral actions undertaken by the EPA: a cost to the rule of law, and the enumerated powers designated to the Congress under the Constitution. One will search the Constitution in vain seeking for the existence of an Environmental Protection Agency — let alone its presumed authority to raise the cost of energy and oversee the balance of carbon dioxide in the global atmosphere. The authority of Congress to interfere in the marketplace is also quite limited, constitutionally-speaking, but at least that body is somewhat accountable to the electorate. The EPA’s present course of action — spurning inquiries from the Senate while arbitrarily imposing sweeping regulations — simply demonstrates that the growing bureaucratic apparatus may pursue its own agenda with little apparent concern that it will be held accountable for its actions.

According to the New York Times article, there are members of Congress who recognize the impact of the EPA’s present course of action:

The E.P.A.’s announcement drew swift criticism from Representative Fred Upton, the Michigan Republican who will become chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee next month. “We should be working to bring more power online, not shutting plants down,” he said in a statement.

“We will not allow the administration to regulate what they have been unable to legislate,” he said. “This Christmas surprise is nothing short of a backdoor attempt to implement their failed job-killing cap-and-trade scheme,” he said.

Of course, the EPA denies the regulations are anything of the sort.

The shaky science behind the anthropogenic climate change ideology has unravelled since last year’s Climategate revelations. The globalist functionaries behind the UN’s Climate Change Conferences admit that their agenda includes many items which have dubious environmental benefit, but which will certainly have a direct impact on people all over the world. China-style population controls, rationing systems modeled on war-time scenarios, and plans to transfer hundreds of billions of dollars from the First World to the Third World will devastate nations and could plunge millions of families into poverty and misery, without proving to be of any benefit to “the planet.”

The economy is not a "plaything" for EPA regulators, and the agency’s hubris is desperately in need of "regulation" by the elected representatives of the people.

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