02.24.2014 1

EPA in the Supreme Court’s Crosshairs

The Supreme CourtBy Tom Toth

The United States Supreme Court heard arguments from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Monday on the extent regulatory agencies may rewrite legislation using regulatory powers to accomplish the political agenda of the Executive Branch.

Specifically, the high court will determine if and/or how far the EPA has the Constitutional prerogative to use the Clean Air Act of 1960 — which does not include carbon as a pollutant under the regulatory jurisdiction of the EPA — as legal authority to regulate so-called greenhouse gasses. The ruling may have wide-stretching ramifications either severely limiting or vastly expanding the Agency’s power to regulate any and all emissions in the United States — natural or otherwise.

This case comes before the Court in large part because both houses of Congress have chosen to reject legislation regulating carbon usage within the United States economy. Sen. David Vitter, the top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, stated the following on the case, “This Administration has led a far-left agenda driven crusade to circumvent Congress at every opportunity, and this case could permit an unprecedented power grab by expanding how far it can go to regulate greenhouse gases. Legislative attempts like ‘cap and trade’ have failed because the American public knows these regulations could strangle our economy, and the implications of this case could cripple the democratic process.”

The EPA has used the Clean Air Act as a means to push historically expensive regulations onto the private sector, including vehicular emissions CAFE standards, with an annual compliance cost of $8.5 billion, and the prohibitively costly MACT rules, which are causing the shutdown of dozens of coal-fired power plants threatening the ability of utilities to meet the future electricity generation needs of the nation. Over the course of the Obama Administration’s first term in office, rules issued by the Environmental Protection Agency added private sector compliance costs of $37.8 billion annually — more than the costs from rules issued by all other federal agencies combined.

Tom Toth is the social media director for Americans for Limited Government and an editor for NetRightDaily.com.

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