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EPA’s New Unconstitutional Power Grab

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) yesterday announced a new “tailoring rule” to attempt to postpone the disastrous consequences of their earlier “endangerment finding” that declared carbon dioxide, the substance humans exhale, a danger to life as we know it on the planet.

The endangerment finding issued last December was designed to side-step authorization from Congress for the administration’s draconian greenhouse gas permitting regulation scheme using the Clean Air Act (CAA) as a means to regulate carbon.  The Democrats’ cap and trade national energy tax is DOA in the Senate.

But the endangerment finding has disastrous consequences to the economy.  And for Democrats in the November elections.

As a delaying tactic, the EPA now seeks to modify the CAA — an actual statute — with a “tailoring rule” to raise limits on carbon well above the hard and fast numbers designed for actual dangerous substances in the CAA.  The limits set forth in the CAA — if applied to carbon — could regulate even local donut shops, pizza parlors, nursing homes, and apartment buildings. 

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), top Republican on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, said the tailoring rule violates the clear legal requirements of the Clean Air Act they’re attempting to misuse to regulate carbon.

‘In short, EPA is buying political time because it knows the political and practical consequences that will arise from its endangerment finding,” Inhofe said.  “The only way to stop EPA is for Congress to overturn that finding and provide certainty for employers so they can create jobs, expand their businesses, and get America on the path to economic recovery.”

“EPA’s rule carries an implicit recognition that its global warming regulations under the Clean Air Act will destroy thousands of jobs and punish small businesses all across the country,” Inhofe said. “EPA makes a legally feeble attempt to postpone the inevitable wave of regulations and energy taxes that will follow from its endangerment finding.”

The tailoring rule “is an unprecedented power grab that is unconstitutional and risky,” said Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) top Republican on the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.

“After ruling last year that carbon dioxide — something we all exhale — is an endangerment to public health under the Clean Air Act (CAA), the EPA was forced to rewrite the CAA in an effort to redefine what the law would cover,” Sensenbrenner said.

“Under the CAA, a ‘major source’ is an entity that emits or has the potential to emit up to 250 tons per year of a pollutant.  Sources emitting over 100 tons are generally required to obtain an operating permit. The application of the CAA to carbon dioxide, however, would result in expensive regulation of literally millions of sources–including hospitals, hotels, farms, and small businesses,” Sensenbrenner said.

“The EPA knows that this would be a political and economic disaster, and it has taken it upon itself to rewrite the Clean Air Act,” Sensenbrenner said.  “The EPA’s tailoring rule is an arbitrary schedule of thresholds that directly conflicts with the statutory language of the CAA.”

“The EPA’s tailoring rule is an unprecedented power grab that is without Congressional authority, and therefore, unconstitutional. Ironically, the EPA relies on a judicial precedent called the ‘doctrine of absurd results’ to defend its actions.  If an agency knows its actions will lead to absurd results, it shouldn’t take them,” Sensenbrenner said..

“This announcement emphasizes the need to revisit the bipartisan Disapproval Resolutions introduced in both chambers of Congress,” Sensenbrenner added.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has filed a Congressional Resolution of Disapproval in the Senate — co-sponsored by 35 Republicans and three Democrats — to block the EPA endangerment finding.

Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), top Republican on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, has filed the EPA Disapproval Resolution in the House, with 116 co-signers.

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Connie Hair writes a weekly column for HUMAN EVENTS. She is a former speechwriter for Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.).

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