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A Supreme Court EPA Decision That Could Cost Taxpayers $21 Billion Per Year

Marlo Lewis
Forbes.com
May 8, 2013

Is the Clean Air Act so badly flawed that it will cripple environmental enforcement and economic development alike unless the EPA and its state counterparts defy clear statutory provisions or, alternatively, spend $21 billion a year to employ an additional 320,000 bureaucrats?

That is a central issue in a recent lawsuit by the Southeastern Legal Foundation, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and a host of lawmakers and several companies.

They are petitioning the Supreme Court to review an appellate court decision upholding the EPA’s global warming regulations. The litigation challenges the EPA’s interpretation of both the Clean Air Act and the Supreme Court’s April 2007 Massachusetts v. EPA decision. In that case, the Court held the EPA must determine whether greenhouse gas emissions may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare.

If so, the EPA must establish greenhouse gas emission standards for new motor vehicles. In part, the Court based its ruling on the assumption an endangerment finding would not lead to “extreme measures.” At most, cars might get better gas mileage. What’s not to like?

But in July 2008, the EPA argued it might also have to establish greenhouse gas emission standards for aircraft, marine vessels, non-road vehicles, fuels and numerous industrial source categories. It might even have to establish national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for greenhouse gases. In short, an endangerment finding could empower the EPA to implement an economy-wide de-carbonization program without having to clear any of it with Congress. Somehow none of this was discussed in Mass. v. EPA.

But wait, it gets weirder. In October 2009, the EPA acknowledged that regulating greenhouse gases through the Clean Air Act leads to “absurd results” and “administrative impossibility.”

Read the full article online here.

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Daily Caller - Report: EPA rules to shut down more than 280 coal-fired units

Michael Bastasch
The Daily Caller
May 3, 2013

New analysis shows that the coal industry is in for some tough years ahead, as more than 280 coal-fired generating units are slated to be shut down in part due to stricter Environmental Protection Agency regulations.

The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, a partnership of industry groups, reports that the number of coal plants slated for shutdown is fives times greater than the EPA predicted would be forced to shut down due to its regulations.

Coal-fired electric generating plants will be shut down across 32 states, with the hardest hit states being Ohio, Pennsylvania, Georgia, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky and Indiana, according to the coalition.

“Regrettably, the number of coal units being forced to close continues to grow,” said Mike Duncan, president and CEO of ACCCE, in a statement. “Yet, EPA continues to downplay the damage its regulations are causing to the U.S. economy and to the many states that depend on coal for jobs and affordable electricity.”

The list of coal plants slated for shutdown has been expanding rapidly since last summer when the Energy Information Administration estimated that 175 coal-fired generators — 8.5 percent of the U.S.’s coal-fired capacity — would be retired in the coming years due to declining demand for electricity and stricter environmental regulations.

In September, ACCCE estimated that more than 200 coal-fired generating units — more than 31,000 megawatts of power — would be shut down across 25 states due to EPA regulations and other factors inducing cheap natural gas.

The shale boom has caused cheap natural gas to replace some coal consumption and use for power generation, but new environmental regulations have continually made it less economical to build coal plants.

Read the full article online here.

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Obama's EPA: Cloak and Banner

Jeff Stier
The Huffington Post
April 5, 2013

The Obama administration has turned "transparency" from a buzzword to a fuzzword. The latest examples come from the Environmental Protection Agency.

In a transparent government, emails are subject to freedom of information laws. In the Obama government, senior EPA officials have one set of email accounts for transparency, and alias accounts to hide communications that may not be so flattering, such as plans to coordinate policy battles on behalf of the Environmental Defense Fund.

While the email scandal spreads from former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to other top officials, the agency's campaign to keep the public in the dark about radical elements of its actual policy agenda continues unabated.

Consider the proposed greenhouse gas rule due to be finalized on April 13th. The rule would forbid new coal-fired power plants from emitting any more carbon than those fired by natural gas. The administration makes it sound like the rule will permit new coal-fired plants, even though in effect, it bans them. That's because no technology exists that would allow one to be built under the proposed rules.

The White House is standing by the controversial approach, denying reports that the rule is likely to be scrapped before the deadline in the face of insurmountable legal challenges.

Read the full article online here.

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EPA fights watchdog groups, helps ‘friendlies,’ new lawsuit says

Michal Conger
The Washington Examiner
April 4, 2013

Allies of the Environmental Protection Agency get preferential treatment while watchdog agencies are stonewalled and charged unlawful fees for information, according to a lawsuit filed by the Competitive Enterprise Institute Thursday morning in U.S. District Court in Washington.

CEI is suing the EPA to reveal why it refuses to waive fees for Freedom of Information Act requests from CEI and other nonprofits that disseminate information in the public interest, as required by law. The suit seeks to force the EPA to reveal how evenly its FOIA policies are applied to friendly groups and transparency organizations. CEI originally sued for records related to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s “Richard Windsor” alias email account. But for the past year, the EPA has refused to waive fees and delayed releasing the emails until forced in court to do so beginning in January. “CEI’s success at uncovering and disseminating public information – including former Administrator Lisa Jackson’s false-identity email account in the name of ‘Richard Windsor’ – has led EPA to decide to block CEI from further discoveries and to impose fee barriers on other groups deemed hostile to EPA’s agenda,” said Christopher Horner, a senior fellow and attorney for CEI.

Both the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity and the National Center for Public Policy Research have received similar treatment from the EPA, according to CEI.

Read the full article online here.

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President Obama’s EPA Pick Threatens Market Stability

Tom Borelli
TownHall
March 26, 2013

President Obama has made it clear, both in word and action, that climate-change regulation is a top priority for his second term. Putting aside the legitimate questions about the science behind climate-change alarmism, the nomination of Gina McCarthy as EPA administrator is just the latest sign that the president is determined to push a market-subverting, economy-handcuffing energy agenda on the American people.

Obama wasted no time in selecting climate change as a top priority. During his inauguration speech, he played to our emotions with the liberal talking point that failing to address climate change “would betray our children and future generations.”

Obama then went on to escalate his commitment to climate change by delivering an ultimatum that, “If Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will. I will direct my cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take, now and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy."

Climate-change regulation is the foundation of President Obama’s command-and-control energy policy, which will fundamentally transform our electricity market and put greater pressure on the wider economy.

Read the full article online here.

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Groups sue EPA for top officials’ instant-message records

Ben German
The Hill
April 2, 2013

Two conservative groups are suing the Environmental Protection Agency to compel disclosure of instant-message chats involving former Administrator Lisa Jackson, Gina McCarthy, the senior regulator nominated by President Obama to lead the EPA, and others.

The new lawsuit, filed by the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the American Tradition Institute, alleges that the EPA has failed to comply with January Freedom of Information Act requests seeking messages to and from several top officials.

“In addition to important conversations both inside the Agency and with outside parties, we expect this suit to provide important information about EPA's compliance with the law, and Congress's legitimate oversight activities,” said Christopher Horner, an attorney who works with both groups.
The groups and allied GOP lawmakers say the EPA lacks transparency, alleging agency officials seek to shield decision-making from public view.

Critics have attacked the EPA over revelations that Jackson used a secondary federal account under the name “Richard Windsor,” and that some others have used personal email accounts.

Read the full article online here.

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Forbes - EPA: Green Gone Wild

David John Marotta
Forbes.com
January 13th, 2013

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wants to vastly expand its power. Last year, the agency paid nearly $700,000 to the National Academy of Sciences to draft the document “Sustainability and the U.S. EPA.” This manifesto rationalizes why the EPA has the right to regulate every business, community and ecosystem in the country.

The key to the EPA’s regulatory control is “ sustainability,” an illusive and ill-defined term even more broadly applicable than the interstate commerce clause. According to the EPA’s website, “Sustainability is based on a simple principle: Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment. Sustainability creates and maintains the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations.”

What can the EPA therefore regulate? Everything. Because everything depends on our natural environment. Can you use that? Not if we decide some other use is more important. What if my claim is most important? The EPA can decide that future generations have an even more critical claim. Are humans important? Yes, but no more important than nature, and it is our purview to speak for nature and adjudicate dispute so that both can exist in productive harmony.

One of my undergraduate degrees at Stanford was in philosophy. There I enjoyed studying not only logic, but also logical fallacies. The EPA’s regulatory reach is based on several fallacious assumptions.

Read the article online here

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Red State: Obama EPA Forces Company to Cut Jobs, Spend $6 million on Green Agenda

Brian Sikma
Red State
January 11, 2013

A settlement forced by the Obama Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency on a Wisconsin power company has forced an employer to prepare to cut jobs and spend millions paying for the Obama Administration’s green energy agenda. The EPA has entered into a consent decree with the Wisconsin Public Service Corporation (WPS) after federal regulators alleged that two of the company’s coal-fired power plants were in violation of the Clean Air Act. The company disputes the claim.

Under the leadership of Obama appointed EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, the federal agency has been on a crusade to fundamentally reshape portions of the economy. In addition to using its regulatory power to wage war on coal fired power plants, the EPA has pushed an aggressive green energy agenda that has been criticized by some experts as long on politics but short on science.

In Wisconsin, that dual thrust has collided as Wisconsin Public Service Corporation prepares to spend $300 million to upgrade two power plants, pay a $1.2 million fine to the EPA, and spend no less than $6 million on specific green energy projects outlined by the Obama EPA.

The company has already indicated they are likely to lay off workers and possibly shutter the two power plants. Ironically, in making their case to the EPA, company officials noted that fulfillment of a large part of the EPA’s regulatory imposition would be accomplished by plant upgrades they were already working on.

Administrator Jackson has used the Clean Air Act as justification for her war on coal fired power plants. But at least one former EPA administrator believes the Act is being used today for something it was never intended for. William Reilly, who led the EPA under President George H.W. Bush, told The New York Times in 2011, that Jackson is trying to use “the Clean Air Act to try to accomplish something for which it was never designed, the control of carbon dioxide.”

Jackson has said herself that she views her role and the EPA’s role as an activist one, focused on changing the way Americans get their energy. The EPA seeks to use its position to “level the playing field,” to quote Administrator Jackson, between green energy sources and traditional energy sources. Many forms of green energy are not completely commercially viable at this time with cost savings and reliability issues dogging them.

Read the article online here

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