The Senate’s EPA Showdown

March 29, 2011 03:52

As the EPA screws tighten, the costs will be passed along to consumers, with the same damage as a tax increase but none of the revenues. Eventually, the EPA plan will appreciably lower the U.S. standard of living.

From The Wall Street Journal


The Environmental Protection Agency debate lands in the Senate this week, amid the makings of a left-right coalition to mitigate the agency’s abuses. Few other votes this year could do more to help the private economy—but only if enough Democrats are willing to buck the White House.

The Obama Administration moved to exploit this power by threatening that the EPA would make a carbon “endangerment finding” if Congress didn’t pass a climate bill. This threat was potent for the simple reason that the Clean Air Act’s intrusive command-and-control systems were never written or meant to address an emission as ubiquitous as carbon dioxide. It’s like trying to perform surgery with a butter knife, and Mr. Obama hoped that the pain would force industry to beg for cap and tax. The EPA went ahead with its endangerment ruling, but cap and trade failed in the Senate last year anyway.

A vote to overrule the EPA is also needed to remove the regulatory uncertainty hanging over the economy. This harm is already apparent in energy, where the EPA is trying to drive coal-fired power out of existence. The core electricity generation that the country needs to meet future demand is not being built, and it won’t be until the EPA is bridled. This same dynamic is also chilling the natural gas boom in the Northeast, and it is making U.S. energy-intensive industries less competitive world-wide.

Hardest hit will be the middle-American regions that rely on coal or heavy industry, though the EPA bulldozer will run over small businesses too. The Clean Air Act, once the carbon doomsday machine has been activated, won’t merely apply to “major” sources of emissions like power plants or factories. Its reach will include schools, farms, hospitals, restaurants, basically any large building.


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