Resisting the Imperial EPA’s Overregulation of the Economy

By March 15, 2011General

The House Energy and Commerce Committee meets at 10 a.m. this morning to mark up and presumably vote out  H.R. 910, the Energy Tax Prevention Act, to prevent the EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act.

The National Association of Manufacturers sent an e-mail letter to committee members Monday urging them to vote yes. Excerpt of the e-mail, signed by Aric Newhouse, senior vice president for policy and government relations:

This legislation prevents the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from stationary sources under the Clean Air Act (CAA). It would also allow the EPA to regulate mobile source GHG emissions for model years 2012-2016 but would prevent regulation during subsequent years.

Manufacturers face tremendous uncertainty as the EPA and state permitting authorities begin the implementation process of regulating GHG emissions from stationary sources. Though the EPA is currently regulating the largest new and modified facilities, it has announced that it will start regulating existing power plants and refineries in the near future. Manufacturers use one-third of our nation’s energy, and burdensome regulations on these facilities will increase manufacturers’ energy costs, hindering our competitiveness. Furthermore, as many as six million industrial facilities, power plants, hospitals, agricultural and commercial establishments eventually will be subject to regulation under the CAA.

This legislation is needed to stem the tide of the EPA’s overreach and give our nation’s job creators the assurance they need to expand their businesses and put Americans back to work.

The Wall Street Journal editorializes today in support of the bill, which would have policy set by the policymaking branch of government, Congress. From “Carbon and Democracy: Congress gets ready to overrule the EPA on cap and trade rules“:

The bill, which the committee will likely approve today and the House will likely pass later this spring, would restore the plain regulatory meaning that “pollutant” held for decades until the EPA decided in 2009 that all of a sudden it also applied to carbon. John Dingell helped write the Clean Air Act and its 1990 revision, and the Michigan Democrat has repeatedly said that neither was ever meant to address climate.

Other critics of the EPA’s carbon agenda include Senate Democrats like West Virginia’s Jay Rockefeller and Ohio’s Sherrod Brown, neither of whom is otherwise known for business sympathies. But they understand that the EPA is about to unleash an economy-wide deluge of new rules and mandates that is already costly and destructive, and it has barely begun.

Right. The EPA has attempted to spin the expansion of its regulatory control over the economy as only a limited spate of regulation over heavy emitters such as refineries and coal-fired power plants. But, even the EPA concedes that those limits represent just the first stage of its control over carbon dioxide, the inevitable by-product of all human economic activity.

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