06.09.2010 2

Apocalyptic EPA Should Not Be Setting Energy Policy

By ALG News –

On Thursday, the U.S. Senate is expected to vote on a joint resolution by Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski that would overturn a gloomy finding by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Last year, the agency found that carbon dioxide is a harmful pollutant under the Clean Air Act whose concentration in the atmosphere will do almost everything short of causing an Apocalypse.

The agency warned that CO2, usually thought of as a biological gas necessary for the existence of life, actually “threaten[s] the public health and welfare of current and future generations”. From causing hurricanes, floods, sea levels to rise, and erosion, to bringing about heat-waves, droughts, wildfires, reductions in food production, and deforestation, to even exposing the American people to more pathogens and allergens, the EPA has ascribed to carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases such calamity usually reserved for the Seven Seals.

Although the EPA’s doomsaying has largely been discredited by recent revelations in climate science, including the Climategate scandal where there was widespread data manipulation by climate scientists to literally cook the books on global temperatures, the finding still has sharp teeth to it.

As reported by the Wall Street Journal last April, “The centerpiece of the Clean Air Act is something called the National Ambient Air Quality Standards, or NAAQS, under which the EPA decides the appropriate atmospheric concentration of a given air pollutant. Under this law the states must adopt measures to meet a NAAQS goal, and the costs cannot be considered.” Because of the agency’s finding, it now has the power under the terms of the Clean Air Act to set regulatory limits on how much carbon the nation is allowed to emit, and to force the states into compliance.

Put another way, the EPA now has the power to arbitrarily restrict how much gasoline, petroleum, natural gas, diesel, and coal is allowed to be burnt by motor vehicles and industry. In principle, it could decide that CO2 is so dangerous that no emissions are allowed at all. Just like that.

This has some Senators crying foul, who believe that the EPA has no business setting the nation’s energy policy, which is what emissions limits or bans will amount to. Senator Murkowski’s bill rescinding the agency’s power grab has drawn bipartisan support, including Democrat Senators Mary Landrieu, Blanche Lincoln and Ben Nelson. On January 21st, Murkowski in a floor speech declared that “Our bipartisan resolution deals with an incredibly important question: whether or not members of this body are comfortable with the actions EPA will take under its current interpretation of the Clean Air Act.”

Murkowski warns that the agency’s “command-and-control” approach endangers the economy with lost jobs, lost business, restricted domestic energy production, less affordable housing, more expensive consumer goods, and energy inflation, and notes that “The Clean Air Act was written by Congress regulate criteria pollutants, not greenhouse gases.”

Unfortunately, in 2007 the Supreme Court laid the foundation for what the EPA is now doing, ruling that carbon dioxide could be classified as a pollutant under the terms of the Clean Air Act. Short of a realignment of the nation’s highest court, Murkowski’s resolution, which invokes Congressional Review Act allowing Congress to repeal agency regulations, is the best hope for closing this Pandora’s Box.

But even then, the work will not be done, as the Democrat-dominated House of Representatives would then have to approve it. Fortunately, section 802(f) of the Congressional Review Act provides that if one house of Congress rescinds an agency rule, the other house has to act on it. It cannot just be referred to committee — instead it goes to the floor for a vote. This would put considerable pressure on self-professed moderate Democrats in the House, who would be forced to choose between dogmatic adherence to an Apocalyptic agenda and the economic well-being and livelihood of their constituents.

Even if some lawmakers overtly adhere to the EPA’s hysterical prophesies of a climatic doomsday, surely they quietly worry about the certain public backlash that will result from energy usage restrictions being cowardly issued by decree. America is still a Republic, and even as the government incrementally abandons its constitutional underpinnings, if it now chooses to dispose of the representative process, too, then losing the consent of the governed will not be far behind.

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