EPA’s Power Grab Endangers The Economy

Posted on Tue 09/14/2010 by

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By Diane Katz

Nowhere in the Clean Air Act does the term “greenhouse gas” (GHG) appear, yet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is invoking the statute to unleash economy-busting emissions strictures.

The agency’s latest power grab is not going unchallenged, however. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has filed a federal lawsuit to force the EPA to reconsider the regulatory scheme that will otherwise encumber the energy and manufacturing sectors as well as millions of offices, apartment buildings, shopping malls, restaurants, hotels, hospitals, schools, houses of worship, theaters, and sports arenas.

The Chamber’s suit is procedural in scope: It seeks to compel the EPA to reconsider its “finding” that GHG emissions, as the supposed cause of global warming, endangers public health and welfare. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson in July denied petitions for reconsideration filed by the Chamber, the states of Virginia and Texas, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Peabody Energy Corporation, and others.

Jackson’s refusal to reconsider the “endangerment finding” was all the more objectionable for having followed closely a series of revelations exposing deception and fraud in the research widely cited as proof of anthropogenic climate change.

Moreover, the regulations are unsupported by either clinical studies or toxicological data normally relied upon by the agency to discern an actual threat to human health and the environment. In the case of greenhouse gases, however, the EPA has acted solely on hypothetical effects that remain hotly contested.

It was never the intention of Congress to regulate carbon dioxide or other so-called greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, and previous Administrations have declined to do so. Evidently, this Administration is more interested in scoring points with the green lobby than in alleviating unemployment and jumpstarting the moribund economy.

Diane Katz is a Research Fellow in Regulatory Policy at The Heritage Foundation and contributes posts at The Foundry.

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