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Obama One Step Closer to Dictatorship

The EPA, at the behest of one Barack “Barry” “Don’t call me Hussein” Obama, is about to usurp the constitutional authority of the congress of the United States.

Did we elect the EPA?  I don’t think so.  They are crossing the line to begin cap-and-trade by fiat without the consent of congress.

Congress, did you think you were going to keep your jobs EVEN IF you were successful in screwing America?  If he’s able to pull this off, Obama will be finished with you.  You will be unemployed and relegated to the trash heap of history.

Keep pushing, Obama.  You and your liberals are dangerously close to lighting the fuse on the powder keg of American dissent.  We won’t tolerate your disregard for us and for our constitution much longer.


EPA is preparing to regulate emissions in Congress’s stead

By Steven Mufson and David A. Fahrenthold
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Obama administration moved closer Monday to issuing regulations on greenhouse gases, a step that would enable it to limit emissions across the economy even if Congress fails to enact climate legislation.

The move, which coincided with the first day of the international climate summit in Copenhagen, seemed timed to reassure delegates there that the United States is committed to reducing its emissions even if domestic legislation remains bogged down. But it provoked condemnation from key Republicans and from U.S. business groups, which vowed to tie up any regulations in litigation.

In Monday’s much-anticipated announcement, the Environmental Protection Agency said that six gases, including carbon dioxide and methane, pose a danger to the environment and health of Americans and that the agency would start drawing up regulations to reduce those emissions.

“These are reasonable, common-sense steps,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, adding that they would protect the environment “without placing an undue burden on the businesses that make up the better part of our economy.” At the same time, however, EPA regulation is no one’s preferred outcome — not even the EPA’s. Jackson said her agency and other administration officials would still prefer if Congress acted before they did.

Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), a leading proponent of a Senate climate bill, issued a statement after the EPA’s announcement saying, “The message to Congress is crystal clear: get moving.”

The EPA’s “endangerment finding” — a key bureaucratic step in the regulatory process — was seen as a message to Congress and Copenhagen, but it was also a belated response to an order from the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in April 2007 that carbon dioxide should be considered a pollutant under the Clean Air Act. As a result, the court said, the EPA had not only the power but the obligation to regulate the gas. (In that case, Massachusetts v. EPA, the Bush administration was fighting against regulating carbon dioxide from vehicle tailpipes.)

Michael Morris, chief executive of American Electric Power, a utility that is the nation’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, said Monday that “we have been a proponent . . . to a congressional approach to this undertaking. This is the most awkward way we could go about it.” The EPA had to comply with direction from the courts, Morris said, but “there are better approaches, more cost-effective approaches and more productive approaches.”

It remains unclear whether the EPA’s regulatory cudgel will spur Congress to take faster action on the climate legislation that is now mired in the Senate or whether it will provoke a backlash.

“The stick approach isn’t going to work. In fact, Congress may retaliate,” said Mark Helmke, a senior adviser to Sen. Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.). “They could stop the funding, and they could change the law.”

Anticipating EPA action, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) tried unsuccessfully in September to prevent the agency from spending money to regulate stationary sources of greenhouse gases, such as power plants or factories, for one year. Murkowski, the ranking Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said in a statement Monday that the endangerment finding was “a blunt instrument that will severely hamper our attempts to bolster the economy and get Americans back to work.”

Some senators who environmental groups hope might vote for a climate bill also said they were unhappy. Sen. Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) called the move “regrettable.” And Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said in a statement that she was concerned the move “will create burdens on American industry without providing any significant environmental benefits.”

“I strongly urge EPA to wait for Congress to find a solution,” Lincoln said.

Earlier this year, the Obama administration took the first step toward complying with the Supreme Court’s 2007 ruling by requiring automakers to increase the fuel economy — and therefore decrease the carbon emissions — of new cars and trucks by 2016. The ailing automakers supported the accord.

Monday’s finding is another step toward complying. “There are no more excuses for delay,” Jackson said. “This administration will not ignore science and the law any longer.”

Supporters of regulation note that the Clean Air Act has led to some of the great U.S. environmental success stories, producing significant drops in smog and soot. But greenhouse gases could prove far more difficult to fight. They don’t just come from smokestacks, but from millions of auto tailpipes, airplanes, ships, home furnaces and even the digestive tracts of cattle. And there is no simple piece of hardware that emitters can buy to keep the gases out of the air.

“There’s no catalytic converter. There’s no scrubber. There’s nothing,” said Jeffrey R. Holmstead, who headed the EPA’s air-pollution programs during the Bush administration and now works with the lobbying firm Bracewell & Giuliani. Instead, solutions would likely include switching the fuels burned in power plants and, in the future, using machinery to capture emissions and store them underground.

The Clean Air Act set a low threshold for regulation that opponents argue would require rules for everything from laundries to office buildings, from cow farms to coal plants. But the EPA said it would impose new rules only on large factories, refineries, power plants and other facilities emitting more than 25,000 tons a year of carbon dioxide.

When these plants upgrade their facilities, or when new ones like them are built, they would be required to install the “best available control technology” for limiting greenhouse-gas emissions, while “taking into account costs.” In October, the EPA said there were 13,661 facilities that size; it estimated that every year about 128 new facilities and 273 existing facilities seeking modifications would require new permits.

“What EPA can require is controls that are technically feasible and cost-effective,” said David Donziger, policy director of the climate center at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “With CO2 there is the chance to save money, which is rarer for other pollutants.”

Together, these large sources account for about half of all U.S. emissions, the EPA said. But it’s still unclear what, exactly, the “best available” technology should be. Jackson said the EPA was still working on that.

Although many business leaders have urged Congress to adopt climate legislation, some remain staunchly opposed. Those groups also condemned the EPA for moving forward with regulations.

“This action poses a threat to every American family and business if it leads to regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. Such regulation would be intrusive, inefficient and excessively costly,” said Jack Gerard, president of the American Petroleum Institute, whose members have big oil refineries and petrochemical plants. “It is a decision that is clearly politically motivated to coincide with the start of the Copenhagen climate summit.”

2 Responses

  1. Texan,

    Greetings. Ironically you and I chose the same topic to write about, only came at it (perhaps expectantly) from different angles.

    Naturally, the Obama administration is not giving new power to a governmental office, but rather that office is choosing to exercise a power that they have had all along (confirmed by the supreme court). No freedoms are being taken away from anyone. The Clean Air Act has been around for a while.

    Part of the reason why this could seem shocking is that we have been lulled into thinking the EPA does nothing given that the Bush administration EPA was undoubtedly the worst EPA staff to ever exist in our government. They failed in every way to uphold their job of regulating environmental indiscretions in our country. Can’t really blame them though– they were just following orders.

    Even so, I don’t think you should be worried. As much as I would be fine with the EPA taking charge, it’s probably not going to happen. Obama has already made it clear that he prefers legislative methods for carbon over management by the EPA. This is most likely just a political prod to get Senators and lobbyists moving on making a bill get through Congress–and well done. They should dump the health care bill (I imagine we agree on that) and focus on passing climate legislation.

  2. Tyler,
    Welcome back!

    The EPA, like many other federal agencies, has failed to live up to the purpose for which it was ostensibly created, is nothing more than a drain of taxpayer dollars, and should be abolished. The few good things it has done are outweighed by the hindrance that they are to our economy. We all want clean air and water, but there has to be a better, more efficient way to go about it. Before you jump to the conclusion that I am saying this merely because they are supporting Obama’s cap-and-trade agenda, understand that I have been saying this about the EPA and many other federal agencies for a long time. My opinion has not changed regardless of which of the last several presidents were in office. The Department of Energy is another prime example. They were supposedly created to “reduce dependence on foreign oil,” but have failed miserably at that goal. Now they are a bloated bureaucracy sucking up hundreds of millions of dollars per year for little demonstrated benefit. The same can be said of the Department of Education. Since their entry into the education arena, the level of education at all levels has demonstrably fallen dramatically. Do I even need to discuss the IRS? What a waste of BILLIONS of dollars every year.

    The Supreme Court may have said that the EPA can do what they will, but does that make it right? There have been many Supreme Court decisions that can be legitimately argued as violating the constitution. The way our government is supposed to be set up, the congress makes the laws. Executive orders have come to have the weight of law, but technically violate the constitution. Should the Supreme Court be stepping in to stop the President from making executive orders? Maybe.

    Would I be worried about the EPA doing what they are doing if that were the only thing to worry about? Not much. However, the EPA is only one cog in a machine that is grinding America into sausage. It is part of what I now see as a concerted effort to intentionally bring down the American economic and social system. Mr. Obama and the democrats are following the Cloward and Piven strategy to a T.

    As Jim Hoft asks, “ask yourself, what would Obama be doing differently today if he intentionally set out to destroy the American economy?”

    Obama inherited a $400 Billion deficit (although he just lied AGAIN the other day saying he “inherited a $1.3 Trillion deficit), and has managed to turn it into a $2 TRILLION deficit. He has increased the DEBT to $12 TRILLION, and that’s only the reported debt. CBO and other sources say that if you add up ALL of the government books the real debt is closer to $106 TRILLION. The non-stimulating stimulus was bad enough, but if you pile on a $2-plus Trillion health care takeover, and a cap-and-trade scheme that will simply ship hundreds of billions of dollars and most of what remains of our industry overseas (industries which generates much of our wealth), our economy can’t sustain or recover from that. Obama continues to say we have to “spend our way out of this mess.” Please tell me you don’t actually think this strategy will work. If you have 5 maxed out credit cards, do you improve your credit rating and get out of debt by getting another credit card? Does spending more money that you don’t have do ANYTHING for your financial position but make it worse? This is simple common sense. The Keynesian economics, combined with the Saul Alinsky tactics, and the Cloward-Piven strategy that Obama is employing are GUARANTEED to destroy our nation.

    The next few months will determine the fate of this nation for decades, perhaps centuries to come. If Obama and the democrats generate the total collapse power grab that we are currently moving toward, it will take a long time and a revolution to overcome it.

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