Free Markets, Free People

EPA Set To Kill The Economy

Here’s an item which, in the midst of the financial crisis, will probably be overlooked and underreported. However, it has the potential to destroy any economic recovery should we ever get one rolling.

The Environmental Protection Agency sent a proposal to the White House on Friday finding that global warming is endangering the public’s health and welfare, according to several sources, a move that could have far-reaching implications for the nation’s economy and environment.

The proposal — which comes in response to a 2007 Supreme Court decision ordering EPA to consider whether carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases should be regulated under the Clean Air Act — could lay the groundwork for nationwide measures to limit such emissions. It reverses one of the Bush administration’s landmark environmental decisions: In July 2008 then-EPA administrator Stephen Johnson rejected his scientific and technical staff’s recommendation and announced the agency would seek months of further public comment on the threat posed by global warming pollution.

“This is historic news,” said Frank O’Donnell, who heads the public watchdog group Clean Air Watch. “It will set the stage for the first-ever national limits on global warming pollution. And it is likely to help light a fire under Congress to get moving.”

Actually I prefer to think of it as the excuse the Democratic Congress has been looking for to implement cap-and-trade. “The Court has required the EPA to consider whether CO2 is a pollutant and the EPA has so declared – our hands are tied!” And in such a convenient way.  Al Gore thanks you.

Naturally business interests are not at all happy with the development.  

 In December 2007 EPA submitted a written recommendation to the White House urging the Bush administration to allow EPA to state officially that global warming is a threat to human welfare. But senior White House officials refused to open the document and urged Johnson to reconsider, saying such a finding would trigger sweeping regulatory requirements under the 45-year-old Clean Air Act. An EPA analysis had found the move would cost utilities, automakers and others billions of dollars while also bringing benefits to other economic sectors.

Any guess as to which “economic sectors” EPA’s analysis says will “benefit” from sweeping regulatory requirements costing the utilities and automakers billions? My guess is they really don’t exist in any major form at this moment, and what does exist is chasing vaporware. But those millions of “green collar jobs” have to be funded somehow, don’t they?

But can you guess what else is lurking out there?  

Our old friend, the “Law of Unintended Consequences”.  Not only would every business in our land be effected, so would every “stimulus” project aimed at improving the infrastructure:

“This will mean that all infrastructure projects, including those under the president’s stimulus initiative, will be subject to environmental review for greenhouse gases. Since not one of the projects has been subjected to that review, it is possible that the projects under the stimulus initiative will cease. This will be devastating to the economy.”

Some of the defenders of all of this will try to wave it away by claiming the administration will make exceptions for various industries and it will certainly do so for the infrastructure projects.

But Bill Kovacs, vice president of environment, technology and regulatory affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce knows how this process will end up working, having witnessed similar scenarios over the years:

“Specifically, once the finding is made, no matter how limited, some environmental groups will sue to make sure it is applied to all aspects of the Clean Air Act.

That’s not a threat – that’s a promise. It is precisely how environmental groups have leveraged every environmental ruling and finding in the past. Of course, those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. And here we go …


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14 Responses to EPA Set To Kill The Economy

  • Dont forget that companies if at all possible will be moving overseas to escape the additional regulations.   They would rather pay higher taxes and shipping costs than deal with the environuts.

    Construction etc will come to a virtual halt on any manufacturing plants, etc.

    Unemployment will probably double within 2 years of this going into effect.

  • As Rahm might say, never let an opportunity to extend a crisis go to waste…

  • Yesterday, the question was posed as to whether TAO is acting from incompetence, a socialist agenda, orsome sort of arrogant lack of concern.

    We might ask the same about the environuts.  Are they out to destroy our economy in the name of saving Mother Gaia because they genuinely believe that we’re doomed if we don’t cut CO2 emissions?  Or do they merely want to destroy the US economy in order to foster a new socialist state?  Or are they simply too stupid to realize what they are doing?

    If there is a downside to having a nation as rich as ours, it is that it relieves some people of the necessity of living in the real world and instead allows them to chase even the most outrageous fantasies.  A nation of people struggling from day to day to put food on the table or keep a warm roof over their heads in the winter or stay in a good job would dismiss out of hand anybody who seriously suggested making those struggles harder.

    And just how do they propose to “regulate” CO2?  It’s not exactly a trace gas, emitted by a small number of specific processes / industries.  Hell’s bells, we all emit it every time we breath!

    • AH HA!  So we are the evil culprits. 

      Then each US citizen should be made to wear a CO2 detector over their mouth, and when they’ve reached their limit, the detector automaticaly seals the person’s mouth until the next day…when the person will be allowed to breath again…of course, until they reach their discharge limit again.

      Envirogoobers should be happy with THAT!

  • Recognizing that the EPA’s findings will be given a lot of credence by the courts, the science still seems to favor a result contrary to that espoused by the EPA.  What are the chances that the EPA’s findings can be successfully challenged in the courts?  Do those who oppose the EPA’s findings have any reasonable prospect of overturning those regulations as an “unreasonable taking” under the Constitution?

  • Wrong about one thing, docjim.  According to Weather Channel founder, John Coleman, carbon IS a trace element in the atmosphere.  He further states there is not one single piece of  empirical evidence to show that an increase — even a significant increase — in this trace element would have any effect whatsoever on the atmosphere’s ability to retain or radiate heat.  

    • I guess it’s a matter of definition.  By “trace”, I mean something that is normally an insignificant fraction of the atmosphere, like some of the noble gases or even more noxious materials like HCl or HF.

      But your comment just underscores the lunacy of this policy: the EPA wants to regulate something that is naturally a part of the atmosphere???

  • Well, I guess we know now what that kangaroo was running from.

  • Are The Clown™ and His Clownettes™ out to do everything that they possibly can to wreck this economy forever?

    Could someone show me anyone since Franklin Delano Roosevelt who has effed things up so much in so short a time?

  • Theoretical discuission taking place at a White House morning briefing soon to take place.

    “Gentlemen,  now would be an excellent time for a war.”

    • This theoretical meeting will take place after the briefing by the Department of Redundancy Department takes place.

  • Oh, come on, guys!  This is the EPA we’re talking about.  Home of the finest minds on environmental science in the whole universe.  Right?  What could possibly go wrong?

  • Gulp!

  • If any goverment buracracy needed to be abolished its the EPA we can defenatly do without the EPA and its granola munching tree hugging eco-freaks