The courts and the EPA
By Alan Caruba
As Americans contemplate either the reelection of Barack Obama or his replacement by Mitt Romney, they have—ever since the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970—been protected or been subject to its predatory regulations by decisions in various courts of law or been dependent on efforts in Congress to rein it in. It is the classic rogue government agency.
Because of the hundreds of thousands of regulations the EPA has promulgated, the agency is constantly in court responding the law suits brought by states, by trade associations, and by corporations, but mostly by environmental organizations.
The EPA actually encourages environmental groups to sue in order to enter into consent decrees to "settle" the case in a manner they prefer. For decades, environmental groups have reaped millions in taxpayer dollars by accommodating the agency in this fashion. A case in point is the Environmental Defense Fund that received $2.76 million in grants over the last decade while at the same time suing the EPA over various issues.
The Wyoming-based Budd-Falen law office has documented more than 3,000 law suits against the EPA by a dozen environmental organizations over the past decade! During the same time period, the Environmental Law Institute that created a citizen's guide to suing the EPA has received $9.9 million in grants!
It is especially ironic that the courts have often become the only protection Americans have against the Environmental Protection Agency. Despite the EPA's inflated bogus claims that it is saving lives, the reality is that—particularly during both the Clinton and Obama administrations—it has existed to destroy many elements of the nation's economy, particularly as regards the provision of the energy upon which everything depends.
In a recent Wall Street Journal editorial, "EPA Smack-Down Number Six", we learned that a decision by the D.C. Circuit court "marks the 15th time that a federal court has struck down an Obama regulation and the sixth smack-down for the Obama EPA. This tally counts legally flawed rules as well as misguided EPA disapprovals of actions by particular states."
The court ruling "saved Texas from an arbitrary and capricious EPA rejection of its permitting process for utilities and industrial plants" and asked "Why do federal judges constantly have to remind EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson" of the basic principle that even regulators must follow the laws of the United States?
Ms. Jackson is an acolyte of Carol Browner who served as EPA Administrator during the Clinton years. These days Ms. Browner is one of the many shadowy, behind the scenes, "czars" of the Obama administration, accountable to no one except the President. Many were surprised to learn that she was also a member of the Commission for a Sustainable World Society for the Socialist International. When that was revealed her biography was taken off its website.
In war you target a nation's energy facilities. This explains why the Obama administration has targeted coal-fired plants that generate nearly half of the nation's electricity.
Courts, however, are composed of judges trained in the law, but often ignorant of science. In an egregiously bad judicial decision the Supreme Court in 2007 ruled that carbon dioxide (CO2) and other "greenhouse gases" were deemed "pollutants" under the Clean Air Act.
Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. It is vital to all life on Earth because no vegetation can exist without it. Moreover, there is no need to limit so-called greenhouse gases to fend off global warming—now called climate change—because there is no global warming. It was a huge hoax, but that doesn't deter the EPA from basing its regulations on it.
In a recent case, a D.C. Circuit Court decision was based on a Clean Air Act that empowers the EPA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions in "upwind" states "without regard to the limits imposed by the statutory text" thus vacating the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule that forces reductions from plants in 28 states in the eastern half of the nation. It was challenged by several states including Texas, Alabama, and Georgia.
An illustration of how the EPA justifies its insane attack on the generation of electricity can be seen in its estimates that the rule would have prevented up to 34,000 premature deaths, 15,000 nonfatal heart attacks, and 19,000 cases of acute bronchitis annually. Such figures are simply plucked from thin air, having no relationship to reality than a ruling that a child story's fairy dust can kill you.
Indeed, in 2011, the House of Representatives approved legislation aimed at ensuring that the EPA cannot regulate "farm dust." H.R. 1633 would prevent the EPA from issuing any new rule in 2012 that regulates coarse particulate matter. It passed on a vote of 268-150. Thirty-three Democrats joined with Republicans.
The EPA has become a major threat to property rights nationwide in addition to its relentless attacks on the energy sector. It is a very costly agency in terms of what Congress calls "major rules" that are defined as costing the private economy more than $100 million annually. In August 2010 Speaker of the House, John Boehner, sent President Obama a letter pointing out that the administration had been creating regulations that cost ten times more.
Of the seven rules that broke the $1 billion barrier, four of them were from the EPA. The total cost of EPA regulations hit $104.5 billion versus $5 billion for the entire rest of the government!
If the Romney/Ryan ticket is elected, the nation's energy sector will be permitted to help turn around the nation's lagging economy, avoiding the needless shut-downs of plants that generate the electricity that is the lifeblood of the economy, ending the attacks on coal and opening up exploration and drilling for oil and natural gas that will contribute billions in addition to the jobs that will be created.
With the departure of Ms. Browner and Ms. Jackson, the EPA can then be administered by someone less crazed with the intent to destroy the nation.
Alan Caruba writes a daily post at http://factsnotfantasy.blogspot.com. An author, business and science writer, he is the founder of The National Anxiety Center. © Alan Caruba, 2012