EPA power grab? Pols, states claim new water reg could bring feds into your backyard

Kelley Vlahos
Fox News
November 24, 2013

A river runs through it -- and Uncle Sam isn't far behind.

That's what several Republican lawmakers and even state farming groups and local governments are warning, after a draft rule from the Environmental Protection Agency proposed expanding which waterways are federally protected under the Clean Water Act.

The concern is that the move could give the feds authority over virtually any stream or ditch, and hand environmentalists another way to sue property owners. In other words, critics say, the government might soon be able to declare jurisdiction over a seasonal stream in your backyard.

If so, good luck getting a permit to expand building space on your property, or marketing your land to prospective developers.

"(The) draft rule sent to the White House for review could expand the EPA's regulatory power to give the agency unprecedented new authority over seasonal streams and ditches on private property," Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, said in a statement to

The EPA flatly denies this charge. Officials told that the draft rule, which was published on Nov. 8, is nothing like its detractors claim. "The proposed rule would not expand EPA's or the (Army Corps of Engineers') jurisdiction or protect any new waters that have not historically been covered under the Clean Water Act," the agency told

Read the full article online here

Stop EPA While There’s Still Time

The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register
November 18, 2013

Americans already have seen what can happen when they are told they must go along with an ultra-liberal plan that was not thought out in advance - and about which they were not told the truth.

That describes the Affordable Care Act - Obamacare - to a "T." But because the lies and unpreparedness are becoming apparent now, there is something we can do about the health care law.

That will not be the case regarding Obama's scheme to shut down more coal-fired power plants and, in the process, drive up electric bills for tens of millions of families.

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and U.S. Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., seem to be among the few people in Congress who understand the peril of allowing Obama's Environmental Protection Agency to proceed with its war on coal.

Manchin and Sen. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., have introduced a bill to block the EPA's plan - which is to destroy the coal-fired electric utility industry before most Americans even know it is under siege. McKinley is serving as a key champion of the bill in the House of Representatives.

What the two West Virginia lawmakers and a few others on Capitol Hill understand is that the EPA plan calls for coal-fired power plants to meet standards that cannot be achieved with existing technology. The Manchin-Whitfield bill would, in effect, force the EPA to allow time for such technology to be developed.

Read the full article online here

EPA Wants To Regulate Americans Burning Wood

Barbara Hollingsworth
Fox Nation
November 15, 2013

A lawsuit filed against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by seven states is seeking to force the federal agency to impose stringent new regulations on residential wood-burning heaters, which they claim “can increase particle pollution to levels that cause significant health concerns.”

The lawsuit, filed last month in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by the attorneys general of Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont, is directed against currently unregulated “indoor and outdoor wood boilers,” which have become an increasingly popular way to heat homes, particularly in rural areas.

A related suit was filed by the environmental group Earthjustice.

The U.S. Census Bureau’s 2011 American Housing Survey (AHS) reported that 2.4 million housing units – or 12 percent of all American homes - now burn wood as their main heating fuel, compared to 7 percent heated with fuel oil.

Although wood is a renewable resource, “EPA estimates that outdoor wood boilers will produce more than 20 percent of wood burning emissions by 2017,” the lawsuit claims.

Read the full article online here

EPA Delays Release of Jackson Emails After White House Review

CJ Ciaramella
The Washington Free Beacon
November 11, 2013

The Environmental Protection Agency delayed releasing emails from former administrator Lisa Jackson’s secret account to congressional investigators after conferring with the White House, top Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and Senate Committee on Environment and Public works said.

Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) in a letter released Friday subpoenaed EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy for emails with White House officials regarding the agency’s response to congressional requests.

“Troubling information has recently been brought to my attention that raises questions about the reasons for EPA’s lack of cooperation with the Committee,” Issa wrote. “An email produced in response to a FOIA requests from a non-profit group suggests that the White House may have played a role in EPA withholding information from Congress.”

Issa and Sen. David Vitter (R., La.) sent a letter to McCarthy in April requesting correspondence between her and former EPA Administrator Jackson, who used a secret email account under the alias “Richard Windsor.”

According to the Oversight Committee, the EPA identified 106 emails, but six months later, it has yet to release them to the committee.

In a June 13 email obtained by the nonprofit watchdog group Cause of Action, Kevin Minoli, a member of the EPA’s general counsel office, wrote to White House Special Assistant to the President Daniel Dominguez seeking input on releasing the emails.

Read the full article online here

Obama grasps for climate legacy as second-term agenda crumbles

Ben German
The Hill
November 8, 2013

President Obama has a chance to craft a second-term legacy on climate change even as the rest of his agenda runs aground in Congress.

Gun control legislation is dead; immigration reform is on life support; and reaching a fiscal deal with Republicans appears to be a long shot.

To make matters worse, what was supposed to be his signature first-term achievement — ObamaCare — is suffering from a disastrous rollout.

But there’s one thing that’s going right for Obama: Executive action on climate change is moving full-speed ahead at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). “He may be able to do more through climate change [rules] because the EPA has the authority,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) told The Hill on Thursday.

The most far-reaching piece of Obama’s climate plan is carbon emission standards for the nation’s fleet of existing power plants, by far the largest single source of industrial carbon emissions. The EPA is also writing standards for new plants.

Read the full article online here

Editorial: Time to take fresh look at endangered species

The Daily Astorian
July 30, 2013

The northern spotted owl is the poster bird for why the federal Endangered Species Act should be refined.

Since the owl was first listed as “threatened” in 1990, timber harvests in Northwestern national forests have been reduced by 80 percent, throwing thousands of loggers, mill workers and others out of work and crippling many rural economies.

Driven as much by anti-logging lawsuits as by regulators, protecting spotted owls wrecked the livelihood of families that for generations had worked in the woods. Communities are still struggling and counties in Oregon, Washington and Northern California remain on federal life support, some teetering on the verge of bankruptcy.

Though the range of the spotted owl stretches from central Mexico into British Columbia, the northern population, which lives in old-growth forests, is deemed to be “threatened.” That’s in spite of the fact that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates there are 7,000 to 10,000 northern spotted owls living between Marin County, Calif., and British Columbia.

Agency scientists estimate its population is shrinking in 7 of 11 study areas and the number of northern spotted owls is declining by about 2.9 percent a year.

Why? Logging and wildfires are two causes. While logging in much of the owl’s 12.1 million-acre range has been choked off, nothing can be done about the wildfires. They are acts of nature.

So is the third reason for the northern spotted owl’s shrinking population – the barred owl. According to the Fish and Wildlife Service, barred owls “are larger, more aggressive, and more adaptable than spotted owls.” Scientists say the barred owls – with striped feather patterns instead of spots – displace spotted owls, disrupt their nesting, interbreed with them and, sometimes, kill them. Wherever barred owls are, the population of spotted owls shrinks, scientists believe.

Barred owls are present throughout Clatsop and Pacific counties.

Now wildlife managers want to kill 3,000 barred owls as part of an experiment to see if it helps spotted owls.

Read the rest of the article online here.


Powerful EPA fails to meet deadlines

The Gazette Editorial Board
July 13, 2013

Ninety-eight percent of Environmental Protection Agency regulations for three core Clean Air Act programs were implemented late, according to a new study by William Yeatman of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank.

While delaying EPA regulations may be economically beneficial, the failure to implement them in a timely fashion has encouraged the use of "sue and settle" lawsuits that enable special interests to dictate policy implementation in cahoots with the nonelected bureaucrats of the environmental agency.

Yeatman found that 200 regulations for the three programs have been implemented over the past two decades. However, just four (2 percent) were promulgated within their statutorily defined deadlines. The other 196 were late, by an average of 2,072 days (over five-and-a-half years). The EPA's inability to adhere to congressionally mandated deadlines has opened the door for special interests to dictate policy.

"If the EPA is out of compliance with virtually all of its deadlines," Yeatman said, "then clearly the agency has limited resources relative to its responsibilities. As a result, establishing any deadline determines how the EPA deploys its limited resources, which is no different than rendering policy."

It works like this: Environmental lawyers sue the EPA for not meeting a deadline.

The agency, instead of litigating, then negotiates a settlement of the litigation that establishes a new deadline for implementing the past-due regulation. The result is that certain regulations take precedence over others, depending on who is suing. It is enabled by lawyers for Big Green advocacy groups like the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council colluding with sympathetic bureaucrats to alter regulatory priorities.

Most recently, several environmental groups sued the EPA for not reviewing and revising emission factors for refineries.

The groups could, thanks to sue and settle, force the EPA to change its priorities so that more refineries are likely to be shuttered because of health hazards allegedly linked to global warming.

Read the rest of the article online here. 


WH Climate Adviser: 'A War on Coal Is Exactly What’s Needed'

Daniel Halper
The Weekly Standard
June 25, 2013

Daniel P. Schrag, a White House climate adviser and director of the Harvard University Center for the Environment, tells the New York Times "a war on coal is exactly what's needed." Later today, President Obama will give a major "climate change" address at Georgetown University.

“Everybody is waiting for action,” Schrag tells the paper. “The one thing the president really needs to do now is to begin the process of shutting down the conventional coal plants. Politically, the White House is hesitant to say they’re having a war on coal. On the other hand, a war on coal is exactly what’s needed.”

Obama's speech today is expected to offer "a sweeping plan to address climate change on Tuesday, setting ambitious goals and timetables for a series of executive actions to reduce greenhouse gas pollution and prepare the nation for the ravages of a warming planet," according to the Times.

Here's the full context of Schrag's quotation:

Daniel P. Schrag, a geochemist who is the head of Harvard University’s Center for the Environment and a member of a presidential science panel that has helped advise the White House on climate change, said he hoped the presidential speech would mark a turning point in the national debate on climate change.

“Everybody is waiting for action,” he said. “The one thing the president really needs to do now is to begin the process of shutting down the conventional coal plants. Politically, the White House is hesitant to say they’re having a war on coal. On the other hand, a war on coal is exactly what’s needed.”

Read the article online here.

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