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  • We Need a Real Fix to the EPA’s CO2 Power Grab

    The Senate is expected to vote today on several amendments that would affect the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ability to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas emissions. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D–NV) told reporters that it’s now or never and voting on the amendments will “get rid of that issue one way or the other.”

    Policymakers have introduced a number of legislative fixes, both bad and good, to address the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions. A temporary fix by means of a two-year delay is no fix at all and leaves a lot of uncertainty for businesses expansion because of the threat of future regulations. CO2 permit exemptions for small businesses and farmers will not exempt them from the higher energy prices they will pay when the EPA regulates larger facilities. Regulating these entities would significantly increase the cost of energy for all of America. Congress needs to enact policies that would permanently prevent unelected bureaucrats from regulating CO2 and the catastrophic economic consequences that come along with it. Only this approach would provide the regulatory certainty American businesses need.

    The Bad: Two Year Delay or Exemptions

    Senator Jay Rockefeller (D–WV) introduced legislation that would delay the EPA’s ability to regulate CO2 for two years, but this is not the right approach for Congress to take. It is not a step in the right direction and would do more harm than good by creating uncertainty and leaving the endangerment finding intact.

    One problem with a two-year delay is that it creates uncertainty for energy-intensive businesses looking to build new projects or make major expansions. From planning to construction and operation, such projects have much longer time horizons than two years. Not knowing whether the energy tax will go into effect in two years would deter businesses from making new investments and creating jobs at a time when they’re most needed. Another serious problem with a two-year delay, specifically the Rockefeller bill, is that the EPA can still regulate CO2 under the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) program.

    Another bad legislative fix is to permanently exempt small emitters of greenhouse gas emissions from CO2 regulations. Senator Max Baucus (D–MT) introduced an amendment that would in effect codify the 75,000-ton-per-year threshold and carve out permanent exemptions for the agricultural community from regulation under the Clean Air Act’s Prevention of Significant Deterioration preconstruction permitting program and Title V operating permits program. Doing so would remove the legal questions surrounding the Tailoring Rule but would provide no protection from higher energy costs that small businesses, farms, and consumers would face since larger emitters, such as energy producers, would still be taxed. Further, the EPA could still regulate greenhouse gases under the NAAQS program.

    Since the EPA determined that CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions are a pollutant that is dangerous to public health and welfare, it would have to go down the road of establishing NAAQS for greenhouse gases. As Marlo Lewis of the Competitive Enterprise Institute wrote, this has the potential for devastating economic consequences:

    Eco-litigation groups were quick to pick up on this logic. In December 2009, the Center for Biological Diversity and 350.Org petitioned EPA to establish NAAQS for CO2 at 350 parts per million (about 40 ppm below current concentrations) and for other [greenhouse gases] at preindustrial levels. Numerous other environmental organizations and activists (including Al Gore and NASA scientist James Hansen) have joined the 350 Petition. …

    The potential for mischief is hard to exaggerate. Not even a worldwide depression permanently reducing global economic output and emissions to, say, 1970 levels, would stop CO2 concentrations from rising over the next 90 years. Note also that the [Clean Air Act] allows states only five or at most 10 years to attain NAAQS or face sanctions such as loss of highway funding. For perspective, the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill, which Senate leaders considered too economically risky to bring to a vote, aimed to help stabilize CO2 concentrations at 450 ppm by 2050. The economic sacrifices required to implement a CO2 NAAQS set at 350 ppm hugely exceed those associated with any climate bill Congress has either rejected or declined to pass.

    The Good: Stop the EPA and Stop All Climate Change Regulations

    The House Energy and Commerce Committee passed legislation introduced by Representatives Fred Upton (R–MI) and Ed Whitfield (R–KY) that would repeal the EPA’s endangerment rule and block the EPA from regulating CO2. Senator James Inhofe (R–OK) introduced companion legislation. Specifically, the Energy Tax Prevention Act would “amend the Clean Air Act to prohibit the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from promulgating any regulation concerning, taking action relating to, or taking into consideration the emission of a greenhouse gas to address climate change, and for other purposes.”

    The most effective and comprehensive approach would be to permanently prohibit any federal regulators from using greenhouse gas emissions as a reason to slow or prevent economic activity. Senator John Barrasso (R–WY) introduced the Defending America’s Affordable Energy and Jobs Act, which would prevent the EPA and other federal regulators (such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) from using any environmental act to impose regulations based on climate findings, including Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act. The act would “preempt regulation of, action relating to, or consideration of greenhouse gases under Federal and common law on enactment of a Federal policy to mitigate climate change.”

    Congress needs to enact policy that would permanently prevent unelected bureaucrats from regulating CO2 and the catastrophic economic consequences that come along with it. Only this approach would provide the regulatory certainty American businesses need.

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    6 Responses to We Need a Real Fix to the EPA’s CO2 Power Grab

    1. Emmett Purvis says:

      This is just another example of why we are failing as a Nation. So many agencies, so much special interest. We are approaching impasse on so many issues and ignoring reality. The American people will be forced into the streets,ie: Eygpt, Tunisia Lybia, Syria, before those in leadership positions in our Capital come to understand what we expect from our Government. They should all be recalled!

    2. Capt Cook says:

      You politicians are a bunch of idiots!

      No rules or regulatios are going to fix anything.

      The answer is standing right in your front yard.

      Trees!

      If you pant more trees they will purify the air for you at NO COST to the tax payers!

      If you plant Fruit and Nut trees you will also help end World Hunger!!!

      The fruit can be collected and distributed by all those unemployed workers, ending Unemployment!!!

      The fresh organic foods will help make people healthier, eliminating all those HUGE Healthcare problems!!!

      Healthy foods will give our children healthy bodies and minds. This in turn will help fix our Education problems!!!

      And for goodness sakes people, it's a PLANET!!!

      It gets hot

      It gets cold

      It gets wet

      It gets dry

      This has happened countless times throughout history!!!

    3. The Elephant's says:

      I have the solution. I went to the EPA website and according to their interactive timeline, Administrator Lisa Jackson has certainly increased the issuance of rules, edicts, mandates and ordinary regulations. I was astonished to learn that the EPA, under Administrator Lisa Jackson has 17,000 employees. According to recent surveys, American air and water is quite clean, and the environment in good shape, so the EPA is reduced to regulating ever finer particulates. The traditional idea that "the dose makes the poison" has gone out the window.

      On the other hand, China has huge environmental problems, with dense smog, week-long traffic jams, poisonous rivers and lakes. Environmentally "green" nations wonder if it's any use, when China is belching out such noxious fumes.

      The EPA is good at cleaning up the environment, they just need a real job. Let's just bundle up the entire agency, all 17,000 of them and SELL them to China.

      China needs their help. The EPA needs a real job. All those sub agencies and labs should bring a pretty price, and China wouldn't have to really pay it, just forgive the equivalent amount of debt. It's a clear WIN-WIN deal.

    4. George Colgrove, VA says:

      Elephant

      Sending China our EPA may be taken as an act of war.

    5. AMR 1960, San Diego says:

      CO2 is NOT Toxic to the Environment.

      Many Liberals lament the attack on the EPA's regulatory authority, instead blame your Climate Nazi friends in the EPA for Conflating CO2 with real toxins.

      The Liberals chose under what parameters this issue was going to be fought on.

      The EPA in it's zeal to regulate CO2 not only engaged in a Constitutional overreach. They did it by modifying a regulation[250 ton/yr]action level that determines what qualifies as a toxic pollutant subject to regulation under Clean Air Act [never done before, all previous triggers had a 250 ton/yr trigger] [they raised it to 25,000/ton/yr]

      If the existing regulatory standard, which has served us well since the 70's–were adhered to: MOST SMALL BUSINESS ALONG WITH OVER 40% OF ALL HOUSEHOLDS EARNING OVER 100,000/YEAR WOULD HAVE TO GET PERMITTED UNDER THE CLEAN AIR ACT!

      Agenda driven regulatory excesses are leading to nightmare scenarios, where crypto-Marxist greens seek to sequester more than just your Carbon Footprint.

    6. mike arizona says:

      You might just consider that there is no direct endangerment to the public

      from the current or proposed levels of CO2.

      See Appendix C of the Endangerment Finding.

      You might also note that the finding is for an undefined, ie

      "well mixed combination of six gases".

      There are no chemical equations that would accept or analyze such a vague and complex problem.

      You can pick any answer you want, provided that people are wiling to believe that this mix actually exists any where in the world.

      You might also try to leave out the CO2 compnent and see how much difference there is.

      description

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