Supreme Court puts Obama’s “climate saving” power plant regulations on hold

February 10, 2016

This is great news on several fronts, but especially for supporters of limited government and regulatory restraint (such as me), who’ve often viewed the EPA as an arrogant, tyrannical, and arguably unconstitutional agency.

Watts Up With That?

From the skeptics and common sense win one department…

Tanner Creek Power Station in Lawrenceburg, IN - closed in 2015 by new EPA regulations. Photo by A. Watts Tanner’s Creek Power Station in Lawrenceburg, IN – closed in 2015 by new EPA regulations. Photo by A. Watts

A divided Supreme Court on Tuesday abruptly halted President Obama’s controversial new power plant regulations, dealing a blow to the administration’s sweeping plan to address global warming.

In a 5-4 decision, the court halted enforcement of the plan until after legal challenges are resolved.

The surprising move is a victory for the coalition of 27 mostly Republican-led states and industry opponents that call the regulations “an unprecedented power grab.”

By temporarily freezing the rule the high court’s order signals that opponents have made a strong argument against the plan. A federal appeals court last month refused to put it on hold.

The court’s four liberal justices said they would have denied the request.

The plan aims to stave off the worst predicted…

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EPA’s draconian new plan: Is a 1% Cut in CO2 emissions worth $50 billion and 15,000 jobs annually?

May 14, 2015

We have met the enemy, and it is the EPA.

Watts Up With That?

Guest essay by Steven Capozzola, CAP Media

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is preparing to finalize its Clean PowerPlan, which aims to reduce power plant carbon dioxide emissions by 30% from 2005 levels over the next 15 years.

Looking at some of the best-case scenarios for CO2 reductions, the plan could potentially cut roughly 300 million tons of CO2 annually.

Because global man-made CO2 emissions reach roughly 30 billion tons annually, it’s estimated that the EPA plan could result in a possible 1% reduction in annual man-made CO2.

Overall, man-made CO2 accounts for only 4% of total atmospheric CO2. So the true atmospheric reduction in CO2 from the EPA plan would be approximately 0.04%.

The cost for this plan is estimated at $50 billion annually, with the loss of roughly 15,000 U.S. jobs each year. Increases in household utility billscould reach $100 billion annually.

These high costs have…

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EPA to blow $1.6 million on fancy hotel for “environmental justice” conference?

June 28, 2014
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EPA conference planner

Well, if you’re going to host a conference for nearly a month, you can’t expect people to stay at a Super 8. That would be cruel. A Holiday Inn? No, one can only eat so many free continental breakfasts. Nope, the only thing that will do for people fighting for “environmental justice” (and getting a taxpayer funded month-long vacation) is one of the best hotels in D.C.:

The agency posted its intention to contract with the Renaissance Arlington Local Capital View Hotel for its upcoming public meeting, for which it will need to book 195 rooms for 24 days.

“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA), Office of Enforcement and Compliance, Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ) intends to award a fixed-price Purchase Order … to the Renaissance Arlington Local Capital View Hotel,” the solicitation said. “The purpose of this acquisition is to cover the cost of 195 sleeping room nights from Sept. 9 [to] Oct 2, 2014, at government rate for the 50th public meeting of the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC), a federal advisory committee of the EPA.”

Rooms at the Renaissance Arlington run for roughly $349 a night. At 24 nights, the cost of 195 rooms will reach $1,633,320, or $8,376 per room.

The government per diem rate for lodging is $219 for September. If the EPA receives the per diem rate, the cost will come to $1,024,920 for the duration of their stay.

What’s a million-and-a-half among friends, eh? Maybe they’ll make Star Trek videos, too!

PS: As one wit on Twitter said, referring back to this story:

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Your tax dollars at work: EPA staffer paid $120k per year while watching porn at work

May 7, 2014
"New EPA logo?"

“New EPA logo?”

I have to ask: How do I get this job?

A congressional committee grilled leaders of the Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday following reports that an agency employee confessed to spending between two and six hours per day viewing pornography on his government-issued computer during work hours.

Witnesses in the House Oversight and Government Reform committee hearing confirmed that the worker, whose name has not been disclosed, is still receiving his $120,000 salary and continues to have access to EPA computers.

When an investigator went to interview him, he was at his desk surfing sexually explicit websites.

‘How much pornography would it take for an EPA employee to lose their job?’ asked an incredulous Rep. Darrell Issa, the California Republican who chairs the committee.

‘What does it take for you to take somebody off the computer when you discover they’re doing it? … when someone has done wrong, they’re still on the job,’ Issa fumed.

That’s a darned fine question and, if you read the rest of the article, you’ll find a rare moment of agreement between Issa and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD). Fool that I am, I always thought one had to work hard to earn good money. Now I know that all I need is a job at the EPA and an account at Boom-Chikka-Wow.com. I bet EPA will even pay for the subscription.

And remember, these are the same people who always say they need more of your money, and the same agency that claims ever-more power over our lives.

We’re in the best of hands.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Getting it backwards: the legislative veto

December 1, 2010

At Hot Air, Ed Morrissey writes about the efforts of the Republican minority in the Senate to defeat the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to gain via regulation what the environmental left couldn’t achieve via legislation: a cap-and-trade system and other onerous, economy killing “environmental” regulations. Their strategy involves the use of a little known procedure created in the 90s, called the Congressional Review Act. Ed quotes from a Politico article; see if you can spot the problem:

The law lets sponsors skip Senate filibusters, meaning Republicans don’t have to negotiate with Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) for a floor vote or secure the tricky 60 votes typically needed to do anything in the Senate.

The House doesn’t have the same expedited procedures, but it’s assumed the GOP majority would have little trouble mustering the votes needed to pass disapproval resolutions.

A spate of contentious EPA rules that are soon to be finalized could be prime targets, including the national air quality standard for ozone, toxic emission limits for industrial boilers and a pending decision about whether to regulate coal ash as hazardous waste.

We’re not going to let EPA regulate what they’ve been unable to legislate. And if I’m chairman, we’re going to have a very aggressive, proactive schedule,” Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), the likely incoming chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, told POLITICO.

Note the highlighted portions. What’s being described is a legislative veto, a controversial procedure that was never envisioned in the Constitution by the Framers. Let’s back up a minute for some groundwork. Article 1, section 1 of the US Constitution reads:

All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

The power to disapprove laws, the veto, is not part of the powers assigned to Congress: it is assigned to the President (oddly, via Article 1) and is considered an Executive power. Several court cases (such as INS v Chadha), have held that the legislative veto is unconstitutional because it violates separation of powers by encroaching on the Executive’s turf. At the same time, Congress, the lawmaking body, has ceded to the EPA, a part of the Executive Branch, the authority to write regulations (effectively laws; you can be punished for violating them) subject to Congress’ disapproval.

This is a role reversal that violates the Constitution both by ceding too much legislative power* to an unelected body (the EPA) and by blurring the separation of powers by claiming a veto** for the legislature. It upends the intent behind the Constitution and does violence to democratic governance by giving an unelected bureaucracy the upper hand over the elected representatives of the People.

I’m certainly not saying that all regulations are unconstitutional; it’s perfectly reasonable that, within the bounds of  enabling legislation that does not cede too much congressional authority, an administrative agency should write regulations needed to implement Congress’ will. Nor am I saying Congress shouldn’t, at this time, take advantage of the Review Act to rein in an EPA that threatens to go on a regulatory rampage.  But, if a Executive bureaucratic agency has claimed so much power that it has crossed into the realm of legislative usurpation and, because of that, the legislature feels it needs veto authority, then something constitutional is way out of whack.

This resort to the questionably constitutional legislative veto reveals a serious problem in our democracy: unelected, bureaucratic, and largely unaccountable agencies have claimed too much power from the elected representatives of the people. Once this mess with the EPA is sorted out, the next Congress (as if it doesn’t already have enough to do) should look at either amending the enabling legislation for agencies to limit their power or, if need be, eliminating altogether those that no longer serve a useful purpose. It is Congress’ job to make the laws, not to veto a bureaucrat’s diktats.

*The War Powers Act of 1973 has a similar constitutional problem.

**Here, too.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The regulatory dictatorship

November 20, 2010

Back when I took Civics (and back when they still taught it), I was told that the role of making laws was assigned to the legislatures, as their members were democratically elected by the people. In fact, Article I, Section 1 of the US Constitution states:

All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

Near as I can recall, “all” means “every darned bit of it,” including the authority to rewrite laws.

So where does the Environmental Protection Agency get off rewriting the Clean Air Act to include things never intended, such as carbon dioxide emissions from stationary sources?

This video from Energy Tomorrow talks about this and other examples of EPA’s regulatory power grab. Did you know EPA is proposing ozone standards so stringent that even Yellowstone National Park can’t meet them? Watch, there’s more:

Be sure to read my Twitter-buddy Jazz Shaw’s post on this for other examples of how our EPA is turning into Leviathan, and a link to a paper by Energy Tomorrow that provides an extensive list of EPA’s questionable activities.

You might recall the Left screaming about how the Bush Administration was “politicizing science.” Perhaps, but I suspect it is much worse under the Obama administration. The Progressive Left sees the environmental laws as a way to take control of the economy via regulation, well-beyond the laudable goal of protecting the environment. And we shouldn’t be surprised that this new regulatory imperialism has taken place after Obama came to office; his “Climate Czar,” Carole Browner, is a former EPA chief and was at least closely affiliated with, if not a member of, the Socialist International.

What an odd coincidence.

In any event, EPA’s “reimagining” of its authorizing laws are clearly unconstitutional and the agency needs to be reined in. The new Republican majority will have a lot on its plate when the 112th Congress convenes next year, but, given the damage these new initiatives can do both to the economy and our constitutional order, they should make holding the agency accountable a priority.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Don’t cry over spilled milk – call the EPA!

June 27, 2010

Yes, according to the EPA, cow’s milk is now classified as “oil:”

Having watched the oil gushing in the Gulf of Mexico, dairy farmer Frank Konkel has a hard time seeing how spilled milk can be labeled the same kind of environmental hazard.

But the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is classifying milk as oil because it contains a percentage of animal fat, which is a non-petroleum oil.

The Hesperia farmer and others would be required to develop and implement spill prevention plans for milk storage tanks. The rules are set to take effect in November, though that date might be pushed back.

“That could get expensive quickly,” Konkel said. “We have a serious problem in the Gulf. Milk is a wholesome product that does not equate to spilling oil.”

Remember that the next time you wonder why the price of milk has gone up. And it’s not that I don’t believe agricultural pollution can be a problem, but with the Earth vomiting tens of thousands of barrels of real oil per day into the Gulf of Mexico, you’d think that the EPA would have more pressing matters to deal with, instead of spilled milk. Then again, if their boss isn’t worried…

But some politicians should be. This won’t play well in any big dairy state, not just Michigan, whether it’s California (“It’s the cheese!”) or Wisconsin, which has such large dairy industry that it bills itself as “America’s Dairyland” and where liberal Democratic Senator Russ Feingold is in a tough reelection battle. It’s another intervention and expense imposed by a regulatory agency at a time when most believe government does too much and has too much power. And, as the party of government and the party pushing for a vast expansion of an already intrusive government, the Democrats are doing a bang-up job of turning the public’s suspicion into electoral anger.

Come November, they may be crying over more than a spilled glass of oil milk.

(via Legal Insurrection)