Tag: greenhouse gas emissions

Senator Inhofe: They’re ‘Cover’ Amendments

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) held a conference call with bloggers today to talk about energy policy and the pending Senate vote on the McConnell Amendment, the legislation that mirrors Inhofe’s original bill to block EPA regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.

He dismissed the value of competing amendments proposed by Democratic critics.

In order to try to keep from passing the amendment, that is the Infhofe-McConnell amendment, they have now offered these other amendments as cover amendments.

One is by Rockefeller, and that is a two-year delay. Well that doesn’t help a bit, because all that does is say we’re not changing anything but we’re going to delay it for two years.

We have, and I could name the names of companies that are looking at making giant investments, hiring people, but they can’t do it until they can predict what we’re going to do with the regulation of CO2.

The other one is by Baucus, and Baucus is saying, “Well, we’re going to exempt the small guys, “ and it’s called the tailoring rule. But that’s doesn’t work…. And specifically talks about farms – they would not be under the EPA. Well, you talk to the American Farm Bureau, and I have all their quotes in front of me – and again, I have all this on my website, and if you go to that, you would find they are saying “No.”

If you impose this hardship and this regulation on the utilities, on the manufacturers, that’s going to come right down and that’s going to affect us in the higher price of energy, and we, the American Farm Bureau and others, know it.

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EPA Regulation: Consumers Also Feel the Higher Energy Costs

Jay Timmons, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, appeared in studio Wednesday on WLS’s morning drive-time program in Chicago, the “Don Wade and Roma Show.” A good interview with informed hosts that touched on several items including Illinois’ business climate, U.S. competitiveness, taxes and the pending Senate vote to block EPA’s regulation of greenhouse gases.

From the discussion of the latter (audio clip):

Timmons: The NAM is supporting the McConnell bill because it’s very definitive. It says the EPA cannot regulate greenhouse gases, and then Congress can then come back and create a law that would allow them to do that or do it in a way that Congress dictates.

Roma: It had originally been in Congress’ purview, and then the EPA did an end-run around when it ran into balky congressional leaders, right?

Timmons
: Well, that’s exactly right. A couple of years ago there was a bill that was on the House floor to regulate greenhouse gases, and it did pass the House, it stalled in the Senate. So Congress actually said, no, we’re not going to allow the regulation of greenhouse gases. And now you have the EPA saying, well, if Congress isn’t going to do it, we’re going to do it. So, hey, that’s a fun job to have.

Don Wade
: The reason we don’t want the EPA to tighten the screws on regulation on greenhouse gases is that it will increase the cost to manufacturers’ stuff. That stuff then will cost you, the consumer, more. It’s like a tax, only it’s not a tax. It’s a hidden tax.

Timmons: It’s a hidden tax that does raise the costs of all energy inputs into manufacturing. Manufacturing uses 30 percent of all the energy consumed in the United States to create those goods that you’re talking about that consumers buy. So you have one of two things happen. You either raise the costs of goods or manufacturers simply can’t compete, so jobs are lost.

And the other part of this is, it’s not just manufacturing. Somebody says, “Ah, let business pay,” well, this is also the consumer. This is also the retired…these are my retired parents, who are trying to pay their heating and cooling bill. And if you look at gas prices today, I don’t think anybody wants to pay more for energy costs.

WLS has posted audio of the full 12-minute interview here.

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As the Senate Vote Nears on EPA Overregulation…

The National Association of Manufacturers is running TV and radio spots urging Senators to vote for the amendment sponsored by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to prevent the attempt of the Environmental Protection Agency to extend its control over the U.S. economy through its regulation of greenhouse gases.

The ads are available at the campaign’s website: www.nonewregs.org.

The NAM just sent a letter to the U.S. Senate urging Senators to vote for the McConnell amendment and opposing two alternative amendments that fail to achieve the desired goal: Protecting the U.S. economy, manufacturers and workers from costs of EPA overregulation. The amendments may provide a modicum of political cover, but they simply extend the uncertainty that threatens the U.S. economic recovery.

As NAM President Jay Timmons wrote in a blog post at The Hill, “A choice: Recovery or regulator?“:

Manufacturers have been proved a bright spot during the U.S. recovery, making new investments, hiring thousands of employees every week, and exporting more than other sectors of the economy. Yet uncertainty compels the companies to practice caution, holding off investments until it’s clear just how much control over the economy the EPA will wield.

When Senators vote on the McConnell amendment this week, they will be choosing between a private-sector led recovery and the uncertainty and costs threatened by an unrestrained regulator, the EPA. Manufacturers ask that the Senators embrace the recovery by voting for the McConnell amendment.

More …

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Only McConnell Amendment Limits Economic Risk from EPA Regs

The National Association of Manufacturers just distributed a letter to U.S. Senators urging their vote for Sen. Mitch McConnell’s amendment to block the EPA’s regulation of greenhouse gases. The letter also expresses opposition to two other amendments that threaten to deflect attention from the clear issue facing the U.S. Senate: Whether the EPA should circumvent the policymaking branch of government, Congress, to extend its regulatory authority over carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to the detriment of the U.S. economy, manufacturers, and workers.

The NAM letters comes from Aric Newhouse, senior vice president for policy and government relations. Text:

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the largest manufacturing association in the United States representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states, urges your support for legislation that will prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from stationary sources. To that end, the NAM key-voted Senator Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) Energy Tax Prevention Act amendment (No. 183) to the SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011 (S. 493).This amendment would stop EPA regulations that are costing jobs and hurting our nation’s economic recovery.
In addition, two other amendments that address GHG regulations were offered to S. 493 by Sens. Max Baucus (D-MT) (No. 236) and Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) (No. 215). While manufacturers appreciate the efforts of Sens. Baucus and Rockefeller, unfortunately, their amendments do not solve many problems associated with the EPA’s GHG regulations and provide little regulatory certainty for our nation’s job creators. (continue reading…)

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Manufacturers: Support McConnell Amendment to Restrain EPA

The National Association of Manufacturers this afternoon sent a “Key Vote” letter to the U.S. Senators supporting an amendment by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to block the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. Sen. McConnell has proposed the Energy Tax Limitation Amendment to S. 493, the SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act, being debated on the Senate floor now.

Excerpt from the NAM letter:

At a time when our economy is attempting to recover from the most severe recession since the 1930s, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations, with no guidance from Congress, will establish disincentives for the long-term investments necessary to grow jobs and expedite economic recovery. The McConnell Amendment seeks to ensure a healthy and productive discussion in Congress on harmonizing our nation’s energy, environmental and economic needs before EPA regulates carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from stationary sources, including manufacturing facilities.

Manufacturers support a comprehensive, federal climate policy within a framework that will cause no economic harm while granting sufficient time to deploy low-carbon technologies, such as carbon capture and sequestration, renewable energy and a renewed and large-scale deployment of nuclear power plants.

Sen. McConnell explained the amendment in floor remarks earlier today. (Text and video) A separate news release from his office presented the remarks of 15 Senate Democrats criticizing the EPA’s overreach.

Key vote letters are developed by a committee made up of manufacturers of all sizes and are used to rate a members’ support for manufacturing during a session of Congress.

Also this afternoon, the full House Energy and Commerce Committee voted 34-19 to report out H.R. 910, the Energy Tax Prevention Act, which has the same language as the McConnell amendment. In the portion of the committee discussion we watched online, Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) spoke about the damaging impact EPA regulation of greenhouse gases would have on manufacturing and manufacturing jobs. We thank him.

P.S. Three Democrats joined the House Republicans on the committee in voting for the bill: Reps. Barrow (GA), Matheson (UT), and Ross (AR).

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Why No Cost-Benefit Analysis of Greenhouse Gas Regulations?

The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Commercial and Administrative Law held a hearing Monday that served as a background Executive Branch’s handling of regulations under the Administrative Procedure Act. The hearing was entitled, “The APA at 65 – Is Reform Needed to Create Jobs, Promote Economic Growth and Reduce Costs?

Jeffrey A. Rosen of Kirkland & Ellis LLP was one of the witnesses, and in his prepared testimony he discussed various Administrations’ approaches toward cost-benefit analysis of federal regulations. He made a timely observation:

President Clinton’s Executive Order No. 12866 was retained and has been the policy of the Obama Administration since January 30, 2009. In no uncertain terms, Executive Order No. 12866 requires that federal agencies “shall assess both the costs and the benefits of [an] intended regulation and, recognizing that some costs and benefits are difficult to quantify, propose or adopt a regulation only upon a reasoned determination that the benefits of the intended regulation justify its costs.” …

[EPA’s] December 2009 Endangerment Rule, which would enable regulation of most sectors of the economy, provided no cost-benefit analysis at all, nor does EPA capture and contain such costs elsewhere. The President’s commitment to Executive Order 12866 failed to prevent EPA from proceeding as it did, and it instead has fallen to the courts to review the concerns about EPA’s arbitrary action on other legal grounds rather than the executive order.

It’s not too late for the Obama Administration to engage in an analysis of the costs, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) believes. On Monday the Senator asked the White House to use the Administration-wide review of federal regulations to also consider the costs of greenhouse gas limits. In its coverage, “Senator urges White House to assess economic impact of GHG rules,” Platts quotes his letter:

As part of the review process, I urge you to include an assessment of the economic repercussions and potential unintended consequences of the greenhouse gas regulation on manufacturers, farmers, electric power generators, and our nation’s economy as a whole.

Some might argue the Administration has already done the necessary, heavy duty economic analysis, concluding objectively: “It will create jobs!”

Sen. Brown also proposes some sort of “collaborative approaches” — Platts refers to a “settlement” — with energy-intensive industries to arrive at an agreement about emission limits and government investment in industry. He compares the idea to the deal with the auto manufacturers on tailpipe emissions, but here’s the thing: Limits on greenhouse gases will affect every economic activity. A “settlement” would amount to government command and control over the entire economy.

Also, Congress is the policymaking branch of government.

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Manufacturers Join Brief Against Court Control of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The National Association of Manufacturers today joined an amicus brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn an extreme ruling by the Second U.S. Court of Appeals that allows eight states to sue six major electric utility companies under the theory that their emissions caused a public nuisance by contributing to global warming. Through its decision, the appellate court effectively makes the federal judicial system the arbiter of what is fundamentally a political issue — environmental, energy and economic policy — that must be resolved by the policymaking branch of government, Congress.

The NAM has been involved in this litigation for several years. Background is available at the NAM’s Manufacturing Law Center.

The NAM’s brief in American Electric Power v. Connecticut was prepared and submitted by the Houston law firm of Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP. From the firm’s news release:

Feb 08, 2011 – HOUSTON – Houston environmental lawyer Richard O. Faulk, Chair of the Litigation Department at Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP, and John S. Gray, a Houston Partner in the firm’s Environmental Practice Group, have filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court on the merits of the highly controversial case of American Electric Power Company, Inc. v. Connecticut currently before the Court.

In a decision supported by an earlier brief filed by Gardere, the High Court agreed in December to review a ruling by a lower federal court that allowed public authorities and interest groups to sue power companies for causing global warming. Allegedly, the emission of “greenhouse gases” by the companies was a “public nuisance” that should be controlled by court orders issued by individual federal courts around the country – not EPA regulations or Congressional statutes.

In accepting the power companies’ appeal, the Supreme Court agreed to decide whether global warming was a “political question” that courts lacked the standards and resources to decide. (continue reading…)

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U.S. Supreme Court Will Not Hear Bogus Global Warming Case

The U.S. Supreme Court today denied the petition for mandamus filed by plaintiffs in one of the major — and preposterous — suits claiming damages against industry for causing global warming, Comer v. Murphy Oil. (Today’s order list is here.) This should be the end of the case because the plaintiffs did not file a petition for certiorari, but given how convoluted the lawsuit’s path through the courts has been, perhaps there’s a strange maneuver that could revive it.

As we have summarized at Shopfloor.org, a District Court Judge in Mississippi held that Mississippi residents could NOT sue power companies and refineries for damages that resulted from global warming, but a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled otherwise on appeal.

That decision was appealed to the full Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals for en banc consideration, but after accepting the case, another judge recused herself because of a conflict of interest, eliminating the court’s quorum to hear the appeal. However, the appellate court had already vacated the lower court’s decision in anticipation of hearing it, so the lawsuit basically died. The petition for mandamus was an effort to keep the litigation going.

The National Association of Manufacturers’ Manufacturing Law Center summarized the case here. In amicus briefs, we argued:

The plaintiffs, Mississippi residents and property owners, alleged that the emissions from more than 150 energy and manufacturing companies increased global warming and contributed to the severity of damages resulting from Hurricane Katrina. Our brief in support of the appeal argued that the plaintiffs’ theory of liability would dramatically expand tort law beyond anything ever recognized because of the tenuous link between the alleged conduct and the alleged harm. In addition, this case involves a complex regulatory matter requiring the balancing of economic, environmental and international interests, and is constitutionally the domain of the political branches of government, not the courts.

The U.S. Supreme Court will still have an opportunity to rule on the legitimacy of public nuisance claims against power companies for the alleged harm caused by supposed global warming. In December, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in American Electric Power v. Connecticut, the federal common law nuisance case brought by several northeastern states against power utilities for global warming. The NAM’s case summary is here.

[Update: I quickly corrected the original version that got the U.S. District Court judge's ruling wrong. District Court Judge Louis Guirola, Jr., of the Southern District of Mississippi dismissed the lawsuit in August 2007, ruling that the plaintiffs lacked standing and the tort claims were non-justiciable ones to be resolved by the political system. ]

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If Jobs are the Priority, Of Course You Ask Employers for Input

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), incoming chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, has drawn media attention and the predictable outrage from the predictably outraged for asking companies and business groups (including the National Association of Manufacturers) for their views on regulations and job creation. Issa sent a letter last month to more than 150 companies, trade associations and research group seeking input, inquiries consistent with his priorities for the committee as he identified in a Bloomberg interview:

My number one priority is safety and security of the American people. My two priority is to reduce spending, and my number three, but not the last by any means, is to get this economy going away so there will be jobs. That’s what we have to do with the administration, whenever possible.

If jobs are priority, it makes sense to seek the opinions of the people who create the most jobs, that is, private sector employers. We recall President Obama spending a lot of time with corporate CEOs last month for those very reasons.

Politico first reported the story and did a fair job in its coverage, including the NAM’s perspective on the Obama Administration’s regulatory excess. In the story, Rosario Palmieri, NAM’s vice president for regulatory policy, cited as worthy of review the EPA greenhouse gas controls for major emitters, the proposed limits on ground-level ozone and new controls on incinerators and boilers.

From “Darrell Issa asks business: Tell me what to change“:

NAM’s “high-priority” regulatory list also includes OSHA consultation, noise and other policies, upcoming Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission controls regarding over-the-counter derivatives, Transportation Department limits on hours of service for truck drivers, and implementing the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act signed into law in 2008 by President George W. Bush.

“These are all high-priority regulations that can cost manufacturing jobs and will if implemented the wrong way or will as currently proposed or finalized,” Palmieri said. “We’re anxious for some oversight of these programs.”

He said there is a growing voice from “members on both sides of the aisle, Democrats and Republicans, recognizing that the cumulative burden of regulation is a real problem and if we want to create more jobs and improve this economy, we need to get a handle on it.”

The jobs-killing, economy-throttling, anti-liberty consequences of regulatory excess are among the most frequent topics of commentary here at Shopfloor.org.

Journalistic reports on Issa’s letters were by and large fair, representing his legitimate goals in seeking information and business’ legitimate goals in providing information. The usual zealots and apologists for  the all-encompassing regulatory state (Public Citizen, for example) declaimed and demanded: How dare Issa talk to business! He should join us in demonizing them.

The impact of regulatory state on the economy and America’s citizens well deserves oversight and investigation, and Issa’s letters are an attempt to make his committee’s efforts informed and productive. That looks like good, responsive, sensible representation to us.

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An Unconstitutional Power Grab that Will Kill Millions of Jobs

Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), the incoming chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Tim Phillips of Americans for Prosperity, take on the Imperial EPA in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, “How Congress Can Stop the EPA’s Power Grab“:

On Jan. 2, the Environmental Protection Agency will officially begin regulating the emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. This move represents an unconstitutional power grab that will kill millions of jobs—unless Congress steps in.

The gist …

The best solution is for Congress to overturn the EPA’s proposed greenhouse gas regulations outright. If Democrats refuse to join Republicans in doing so, then they should at least join a sensible bipartisan compromise to mandate that the EPA delay its regulations until the courts complete their examination of the agency’s endangerment finding and proposed rules.

Like the plaintiffs, we have significant doubt that EPA regulations can survive judicial scrutiny. And the worst of all possible outcomes would be the EPA initiating a regulatory regime that is then struck down by the courts.

The National Association of Manufacturers is actively challenging the EPA’s attempt to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and especially its targeting of specific emitters — power plants and refineries — for which the agency has no statutory authority. A summary of the NAM’s active court proceedings is here.

See also Hugh Hewitt’s blog, “Obama’s EPA and the 2012 Elections.”

The EPA is just one of the Executive Branch agencies attempting to replace Congress as the policymaking branch of government, a power grab that threatens the economy and the U.S. separation of powers. Conn Carroll at the Heritage Foundation reports on other, more recent examples of the aggressive regulatory state in “Big Government Strikes Back,” citing the HHS’s plan to impose federal price controls on health insurance and the FCC’s “net neutrality” rules.

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