The Environmental Protection Agency has been positioned to carry out the greatest bureaucratic power grab in the history of the United States. The EPA proposes regulating carbon dioxide emissions by rule, totally bypassing the legislative process. It is proposing the most expensive and expansive regulations in history. The agency is well on its way toward adopting rules that effectively implement a national carbon cap-and-trade scheme without Congressional authority.
In April 2007 the United States Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases are pollutants and can be regulated under the Clean Air Act. In essence, the ruling alleges that all animals including humans are polluters by virtue of breathing in oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide. The court then ordered the EPA to determine whether those emissions are dangerous to human health and the environment and whether there is scientific consensus on the effects of those emissions.
The EPA subsequently made an endangerment finding, apparently ignoring widespread scientific skepticism regarding the effects of emissions on human health and the environment. The agency then released its Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that proposes the types of businesses and other entities that would fall under the regulatory authority of the agency.
According to The Heritage Foundation, schools, farms, restaurants, apartment buildings, churches and anything with a motor including but not limited to motor vehicles, lawnmowers, jet skis and leaf blowers may be subject to EPA regulation. The regulations will result in higher energy costs, higher cost of regulatory compliance, higher government bureaucracy costs, higher legal costs and will create an unpredictable environment for investors that will drive investment overseas. They calculate the regulations would cost $4,500 in annual loss of income for an average family of four and the loss of 2.5 million jobs over the next 20 years.
The EPA estimates it will need to process a 140-fold increase in new construction permits as well as a 404-fold increase in operating permits each year. The agency would permit and regulate virtually every part of every sector of our national economy. The permitting process would cause construction activity to grind to a halt and seriously jeopardize ongoing business operations in the midst of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell has offered an amendment to another small business protection act called the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Program. The amendment would effectively strip the EPA of authority to regulate greenhouse gases under its endangerment finding. His S493 amendment currently has 43 co-sponsors. The amendment that the Wall Street Journal said, “is one of the best proposals for growth and job creation to make it to the Senate docket in years,” would effectively terminate the federal government’s carbon regulation authority.
Another bill to overturn the endangerment finding has been introduced by U.S. Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming. According to the senator’s website, the Defending America’s Affordable Energy and Jobs Act would restore the role of the U.S. Congress in the development and implementation of the nation’s climate and energy policy. The bill would preempt federal restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions made to address climate change in the absence of explicit congressional authorization. The bill also precludes legal action against sources of greenhouse gases based solely on their possible contribution to climate change with two exceptions:
1) Regulations for mobile sources such as cars and trucks will continue, but those regulations will now be managed by the Department of Transportation, not the EPA.
2) Any greenhouse gas that is a direct threat to human health because of direct exposure to that gas could still be regulated, just not solely based on climate change. This provision would ensure that polluters of health threatening gases would still be held accountable under the law.
If allowed to be implemented, EPA’s proposed regulatory carbon cap-and-trade scheme will affect every American every day of their lives. Energy costs will skyrocket and virtually every human activity will be regulated by the EPA bureaucracy. In my opinion, every concerned American should immediately take the time to express their support for McConnell and Barrasso’s efforts to corral this rampant bureaucratic beast before it destroys our economy and our way of life.